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TO be frank, ignoring the Bedoun issue does not negate the fact of their existence. If it was possible to solve this issue in the past before it turned into a snowball that threatened security and burdened the State, then seriously seeking to solve it today does not represent a dilemma. All that is needed for it to work is to have a realistic vision based on several solutions, including the one developed by the central agency for illegal residents.
In its report, the agency stated that there is a group that deserves citizenship. It also developed several solutions to this issue, similar to what the neighboring countries did to resolve this. There is no doubt that some of them are productive, and Kuwait needs them. Many of them served the country previously.
Therefore, the continuation of this file is troubling the State and the people. It is a negative sign in the world for Kuwait. When you ask “Why are the concerned institutions not working to solve it?”, you hear a lot of arguments. It seems as if someone wants to keep the wound bleeding. So why doesn’t the government implement what was stated in the central agency’s report?
Until the 1960s, the number of Bedoun residents did not exceed 10,000, but the State did not take any action. Over the years, their numbers grew, such that today they have reached about 120,000. This number is increasing daily. Their confinement in work, employment, medicine, and other things leads to some of them turning to crime, because hunger has no religion.
The neighboring countries, especially the Gulf ones, have dealt with this problem either by granting citizenship or some other ways.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Bahrain managed to solve their problem in this regard, and even benefited from the Bedoun labor force, especially those with advanced degrees and skills.
In Kuwait, alien decisions are being issued in this regard, such as issuing an Article 17 passport to whomever the state is content with so that he can travel and return to the country, but this is the maximum he can get.
When Germany found a need for a workforce, it amended its law and granted citizenship to about a million immigrants, especially those of working age, or with the competencies and skills, and with advanced degrees.
This law is in effect in the United States, Australia, most European countries, and Britain. This is due to the fact that the goal is to localize expertise and competencies. There is no complex of privileges or anything else, as everyone works for the benefit of the state.
There is no doubt that resolving this issue will lead to allaying concerns and reducing security, as well as creating a workforce that knows the country, customs, and traditions. In the nationality law, there is an article about great services.
Can’t a Bedoun doctor provide medical services? What about a Bedoun engineer, teacher, and others who work in the country’s institutions?
There are also other solutions. If the State does not want to grant citizenship, it can force him to give up his citizenship, and give him some money to return to his country, or immigrate to any place where he can find a decent living.
Almighty Allah said in His Mighty Book, “It is He who has made the earth subservient to you. You walk through its vast valleys and eat of its sustenance…”
There is nothing in the teachings of Islam, and even in the heavenly and earthly laws, that prohibits people from seeking sustenance.
Likewise, with regard to the marriage between a Kuwaiti woman and a foreigner or a Bedoun man, she can grant nationality to her husband or children, irrespective of whether her husband has a nationality or not. If her husband dies and she wants her children to be Kuwaiti, the process should not be different from the one applied to a Kuwaiti man who marries a foreign woman. This is the case all over the world.
These harsh conditions imposed on this group of people contradict the Kuwait Constitution. Article 29 of the Constitution stipulates that, “People are equal in human dignity, and they are equal before the law in public rights and duties, with no discrimination between them on the basis of gender, origin, language, or religion.”
Where did you get all these restrictions that make about 120,000 people endure all this suffering, while the State gives deaf ears”?!
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times
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