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Since the 1990’s, Kuwait has been a human rights active polity. It took responsibility in terms of following the principles recommended by the Universal Declaration of Human rights to ensure justice for everyone and balance between human rights and obligations.
Kuwait opted to give children proper attention and care needed to reach sufficient level of legal protection for a child’s life. By joining the international Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990, Kuwait decided to be one of the countries that helps and protects a child’s rights. Since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that children must be provided with special help and care, a child must live in a healthy family environment with happiness, love and understanding. The family is the foundation of the community and healthy environment. A child must be prepared to live in his community with peace, dignity, morals, freedom and equality.
However, a child is not mature enough to be fully responsible for himself, so he needs legal protection as per the international Convention on the Rights of the Child which ensures protection of a child’s rights and that he is healthy physically and psychologically. Unfortunately, the application of Kuwait’s laws entails violation of the child’s rights treaty; thereby, putting the country in legal dilemma and making it an international embarrassment!
Code number seven of the international Convention on the Rights of the Child states that:
1. The child should be registered immediately after birth. The child has the right from birth to a name, nationality, and to know and be nurtured by his parents.
2. Countries party to the convention should ensure implementation of these rights in accordance with their national laws and obligations under the relevant international instruments in this field, particularly where the child will otherwise be stateless.
Meanwhile, in Kuwait, every child born to a Bedoun father is stateless despite the fact that he was born in the country and his parents are known.
In similar situations, there is legal suspicion regarding the Nationality Law. It is a sensitive national matter as naturalization is a sovereign issue; thus, laws or courts should not interfere in the decision of the Interior Ministry ‘nationally’.
This national legal excuse for not granting nationality to a newborn Bedoun is not accepted internationally, especially since Kuwait has joined the international Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Moreover, code number 22 states that countries party to the convention should take appropriate measures to ensure that a child seeking refugee status or who is considered a refugee in accordance with applicable international or domestic laws and procedures shall, whether unaccompanied or accompanied by his parents or any other person, receive appropriate protection and humanitarian assistance in the enjoyment of applicable rights set forth in the convention and other international human rights regulations or humanitarian instruments.
But since one month ago, Kuwait has been very strict, up to the extent of almost banning the entry of Syrian refugees. A parliamentary source explained the reason behind this ban is to control the population.
This ban contravenes code number 10 which stipulates that the application of a child or his parents to enter or leave a country for the purpose of family reunification shall be dealt with by countries party to the convention in a positive, humane and expeditious manner. Finally, I hope Kuwait will take a serious stand regarding the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
By Atyab Alshatti, Esq
email: lawyeratyabalshatti@ gmail.com