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Sunday , November 27 2022

KSHR submits report to Human Rights Committee on adoption of issues – III

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The following is the last part of a report submitted to the Human Rights Committee on adopting the list of issues for State of Kuwait at the 136th session for the period from 10th of October–4th of November 2022. — Editor

3. We appeal to the Committee to request the government to provide information on awareness campaigns and actions taken regarding women’s civil and political rights in order to encourage their participation in the political and public life.

4. We ask the Committee to request the Government to indicate the measures taken to overcome the entrenched discriminatory stereotype against women in society, and the outcomes of those measures.

5. We encourage the Committee to ask the Kuwaiti government to clarify the measures and procedures taken to activate the law No. (16/2020), the reason beyond not activating the work of the shelters, the mechanism used to receive complaints from abused women and provide updated data about the number of reported cases and the number of criminal investigations and trials and penalties for perpetrators, as well as with regard to remedies, including compensation for women accordingly.

6. We ask the Committee to request the Kuwaiti government to provide information on the mandate of the National Committee for the Protection from Domestic Violence, to provide detailed information on the Committee’s implementation plans and follow-up, and the coordination mechanism with relevant civil society organizations, and to provide information on the Committee’s work on awareness and educational programs against domestic violence and their numbers, in addition whether an annual report was issued by the Committee on domestic violence and complaints received by the competent departments and authorities.

4 . Torture:

■ In January 2022, four (4) State Security officers detained an officer working in the Ministry of Interior for days in a cold room (refrigerator), which prompted the Ministry of Interior to issue a statement announcing the arrest, investigation and referral of those involved to the Public Prosecution, where they were charged with kidnapping and torturing an officer working in the Ministry of the Interior.

■ In June 2022, a Kuwaiti citizen was subjected to torture by members of the Criminal Investigation Service, where he was transferred to the hospital and entered the intensive care unit. Activists published a medical report stating that such citizen suffers from sudden loss of consciousness and weakness on the right side of his body, along with a hemorrhagic clot in left side of the brain.

■ In July 2022, a Kuwaiti citizen died during his arrest by security men, as initial information indicates that he was subjected to violence and beatings during his arrest in the “Jahra Stables” area, where he died in Jahra Hospital. According to information indicated and circulated by many activists on the social networking site (Twitter), that he died of a cerebral hemorrhage and there were signs of torture on the body .

Recommendations

1. We appeal for the Committee to request the Kuwaiti government to provide information on cases of torture and the reason beyond their increase recently, and to indicate the mechanism followed to receive complaints against security men at the Monitoring and Inspection Department within the Ministry of Interior, and to provide statistics on the number of cases reported to the Department, the number of investigations, trials, and penalties imposed on offenders, besides with regard to remedies and compensation.

5 . Administrative Removal:

■ The Ministry of Interior announced the deportation of (7,808) residents from the country in the first half of 2021, for various reasons, including violating the residence law, committing criminal cases, traffic violations and other issues.

■ The Ministry of Interior has wide authority in administrative deportation within the concept of (public interest) without specific controls, and we recently monitored through complaints received by KSHR the deportation of certain migrant workers for unclear grounds; some of which were just accusations without a clear conviction, including absent reports by employers filed against their workers, and some for traffic violations, or violating the residency law, and they were expelled without giving them the right to appeal.

■ Certain workers who are subject to administrative deportation in the deportation center (Talha Prison) suffer from prolonged detention, especially workers who are financially indebted, or those who did not have embassies for their countries in Kuwait to obtain the travel documents.

Recommendations

1. We urge the Committee to ask the government to provide statistics regarding the number of administrative deportees during the years (2019-2020- 2021), the number of detainees held for more than thirty days in the deportation center, and the possibility of activating the role of the judiciary and making it the competent authority to consider the issue of deportation and provide the necessary guarantees such as the right to appeal and providing the grounds for deportation.

6. Human Trafficking:

■ The Kuwaiti government did not meet the minimum standards with respect to combating human trafficking in light of the Public Authority for Manpower’s continued use of routine arbitration and administrative penalties to resolve grievances and complaints brought thereto by migrant workers in lieu of deeply investigating about the applicability of the standards of Law No. 91/2013 on combating human trafficking and migrants smuggling in such complaints and refer thereof to the competent authorities.

■ The national referral system to prevent human trafficking is not activated to the required level by the permanent national Committee concerned with the implementation of the national strategy to prevent human trafficking and smuggling of migrants, provided that this system shall include stages starting from identifying the victim, then reporting, transferring and documenting the victims, investigation and prosecution, then providing protection and assistance and ending with voluntary return and reintegration.

■ Recently, the General Department of Criminal Investigation, through the Anti-Human Trafficking Department, has designated a hotline to receive reports and complaints of human trafficking.

Recommendations

1. We urge the Committee to request the Kuwaiti government to provide information on the progress made in the national referral system to prevent human trafficking, the number of awareness and training programs, and the number of law enforcement personnel who have been qualified and trained by the Permanent National Committee concerned with carrying out the National Strategy to Prevent Trafficking in Persons.

2. We request the Committee to ask the government to provide information on the mechanisms and oversight measures on foreign labor recruitment companies. 3. We urge the Committee to request the government to provide statistics on the number of reported cases of human trafficking crimes, the number of investigations and trials, and the penalties imposed on perpetrators, besides with regard to remedies and compensation.

7 . Domestic Workers:

■ The number of employees in the domestic work sector is (593,648) until the end of 2021, as per the labor market information system in the Central Statistical Bureau that (89%) of female homeworkers do not receive annual paid leave from their employers, despite Law 68 of 2015 regarding Domestic workers stipulated that the female homeworker is entitled to obtain the said leave as prescribed in Article No. 22, while (11%) of female workers obtain annual leave, and the most deprived categories of annual leave are married workers at a percentage of (88%) who have worked for the employers for more than three years.

■ Increasing number of complaints received by KSHR from homeworkers and employers via the hotline owing to violations and breaches of recruitment agencies and their non compliance with laws and regulations, the increase of the activity of illegal intermediaries, and thus the offices resorted to employ female workers by the rental system for the employers against a high monthly wage paid to these offices. In return, homeworkers get low monthly wages, taking advantage of the increasing demand from employers, however these practices are in contrary to Law No. 68/2015 with regard to domestic workers.

Recommendations

1. We urge the Committee to request the government to provide information on efforts to repeal the sponsorship system, and on the progress made in the possibility of amending Law No. 68/2015 by adding an article, which provides the Public Authority for Manpower the right to cancel and transfer the homeworker without referring to the employer’s consent.

2. We appeal for the Committee to request the Kuwaiti government to provide information on the measures taken against the recruitment agencies that breached and did not adhere to the regulations and laws, and the number of violating agencies against which certain procedures have been taken in this regard.

3. We urge the Committee to request the government to provide statistics pertaining to the number of domestic workers against whom a report of absence is registered, the number of female homeworkers in the labor shelters, and whether the Public Authority for Manpower provides interpretation services in the complaint departments or not.

4. We urge the Committee to request information about the steps taken to harmonize Domestic Workers Law No. 68/2015 and its executive regulations in line with the international standards, including the ratification of ILO Convention No. 189 on Domestic Workers.

8 . Freedom of Opinion and Expression:

■ Over the past years, freedom of opinion and expression has declined as we note that there is a wide space for interpreting what may constitute a crime when expressing, and the competent authorities are still applying provisions in the cybercrime law to restrict freedom of speech and expression.

■ In November 2021, the State Security summoned the head of the Kuwaiti Information Security Association and referred her to the Public Prosecution, where she was charged with three charges of broadcasting false news that would reduce the prestige of the state, incite panic in society, and endanger the country to suspend its relationship with a friendly country because of an interview she had on Al Shahed channel on a television program called (The Appeal). Through such Television program, she had declared that a non Kuwaiti firm manages the information and data of citizens and residents through servers located outside the country.

■ In April 2021, the Kuwaiti government adopted Law No. 01/2021 for amending certain provisions of Law No.17/1960, regarding the revocation of pretrial detention sentences against those who exercise their right to express their opinion and publish it verbally, in writing, drawing, or otherwise, including the expression of opinion through the media or social networking.

Recommendations

1. We appeal for the Committee to request the government to provide information on the steps taken to review all laws that contain provisions restricting the freedom of opinion and expression right, aiming to making them consistent with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

2. We appeal for the Committee to request the government to provide information on the guarantees provided to protect the rights to freedom of expression and the right to privacy by monitoring Internet use.

9. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association:

■ The constitution provides for freedom of peaceful assembly, but prohibits non-citizens and Bedoon from peaceful assembly and demonstration. Citizens must obtain permission from the authorities for peaceful assembly. On many occasions, Bedoon activists attempted to campaign or organize a peaceful assembly to demand their rights, however the authorities prevent thereof. Furthermore, some Bedoon activists have been detained and interrogated by the authorities every time they planned for campaigns or protests.

■ The Ministry of Social Affairs applies bureaucratic procedures and a complex routine concerning the official registration of civil society organizations, in addition to prolonging the registration period. Nevertheless, the law confers the Ministry the absolute discretion to reject or accept thereof, and broad powers over civil society associations, whereas non citizens are not entitled to apply for the registration of civil society associations, syndicates or federations, but they are allowed to join within specific controls.

Recommendations

1. We urge the Committee to request the government to provide information on programs and training courses for law enforcement officials in dealing with peaceful assemblies in order to ensure respecting human rights, and the number of courses and programs during the years (2020-2021-2022).

2. We appeal for the Committee to request the government to provide information on the actions taken regarding reviewing and updating Law No. 24/1962 regarding clubs and associations of public interest with the aim of making it compatible with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

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