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Probe into riot at shelters urged

KPM holds Govt responsible for condoning visa sellers for years

KUWAIT CITY, May 6: The Kuwaiti Progressive Movement (Al-Taqadomia) has stated the need to address the root causes of the rioting that occurred at the center for sheltering residence violators, and in this context, hold the government responsible for exacerbating the issue of residency violators by condoning visa trade for years.

The movement also blamed government for allowing the existence of what is known as “the parasitic capitalist economy” through the recruitment of millions of migrant workers who are deprived of the most basic labor and trade union rights for them to be exploited in the most heinous manner.

In a press statement, the movement indicated the bid to fight against the novel coronavirus outbreak has exposed problems that were covered up, such as the issue of demographic imbalance, as well as residency and labor law violations.

Unfortunately, the victims, who are migrant workers, are treated as if they are the ones causing those issues. In fact, they are treated as if they are the source of the spread of COVID-19, besides the talk about limiting the blame to visa traders only, while the responsibility of government and its agencies has been overlooked- even though it heavily contributed to this problem and groomed by remaining tolerant towards the perpetrators.

In addition, the government has failed for years to punish corrupt officials and their partners in government’s decision-making centers that facilitated the recruitment of hundreds of thousands and possibly millions of workers to Kuwait without providing them actual job opportunities, in exchange for financial royalties those workers paid from their sweat.

This also includes government’s complacency in dealing with several companies in private sector that laid off their workers after the implementation of government projects, adding “even if the companies in question did not trade in visas, they still declined to follow proper procedures and their actions yielded effects similar to those of visa trading. Generally, the reason for the so-called defect in the country’s demographics is deeper and broader than all of these.

It is connected to the parasitic capitalist system, which is keen on bringing millions of migrant workers who are deprived of their most basic labor and trade union rights to exploit them as cheap labor force, purchasing power, and tenants. And, the prevailing consumer lifestyle in Kuwait society that contributed to the recruitment of hundreds of thousands of marginal migrant workers as domestic workers also exacerbated the problem.

“Today, our Kuwaiti society has begun to pay attention to the issue and trying to confront it, after it became worse in the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, but it is clear that this attention did not stem from a full awareness of the problem and its dimensions, while the problem is being dealt with in a superficial and selective manner by only touching the tip of the iceberg”, the statement read.

In this context, government has developed measures it used to implement in previous years, which mainly aimed at clearing the files of companies caught in visa trade, as the Ministry of Interior announced an exceptional deadline for violators of residence to exit the country, and provided places to accommodate them upon completing their procedures until the date of their departure to their home countries.

However, things are completely different on the ground, as measures implemented by the government appeared to be based on a random decision or rather ‘improperly thought through’- in terms of its complications, repercussions and consequences on one hand, while the number of violators who registered did not exceed 25 thousand. Worst of all, government was unable to coordinate in a practical and appropriate manner with the governments of those residency violators to organize their return.

“On the basis of this emerging problem resulting from blatant government floundering, coupled with hasty and ill-considered decisions, one of the shelters in Kabd area recently witnessed an unfortunate incident, which was dealt with from the security angle but the root causes of the problem were ignored, and those events soon turned into a substance of hate and racism against the despaired victims. It is premature to think that the incident would turn into an inflammatory material to be exploited by foreign bodies”, noted the statement.

The movement concluded its statement by saying, “We are in a period where we do not justify incidents of chaos, but we cannot ignore its causes, so we warn that unless this problem is properly addressed, it is bound to repeat and might even expand, taking into account the many considerations, including human rights violations and the current exceptional circumstances.”

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