Bedoon (ethnicity)

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Not to be confused with Bedouin.
Bidoon
Total population
80,000-120,000
Regions with significant populations
Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Iraq
Religion
Islam

Bedoon (Arabic: بدون‎), is an ethnic group in Gulf Arab states and Iraq.[1] The Bedoon are reportedly stateless people, several governments believe they are illegal immigrants. Although some Bidoon are originally Bedouin, the two terms have different meanings.[2][3]

Most of Kuwait's Bedoon are of Iraqi ancestry.[4][5][6] The Bedoon issue in Kuwait “overlaps with historic sensitivities about Iraqi influence inside Kuwait”.[7] During the 1980s, the Bidoon constituted 80-90% of the Kuwaiti Army.[8] Until 1990, the Bedoon accounted for 80% of the Kuwaiti Army.[9]

Kuwait considers the Bidoon illegal immigrants.[10][11] Human rights organizations have criticized Kuwait for its handling of the issue. The Kuwaiti government believes the Bidoon are foreign nationals from neighboring countries. In 2014, the Kuwaiti government discovered the true nationalities of 6,000 Bidoon, most were Saudi nationals hiding their passports.[12][13]

Kuwait[edit]

Origins[edit]

Most of Kuwait's Bedoon are of Iraqi ancestry.[4][5][6] During the 1970s and 1980s, the Bedoon formed 80-90% of the Kuwaiti Army.[8][14][6] Until 1990, the Bidoon accounted for 80% of the Kuwaiti Army.[9] After the Gulf War, the number of Bidoon in the Kuwaiti Army declined. It is currently estimated that the Bidoon account for 40% of the current Kuwaiti Army.[15] The Bedoon issue in Kuwait “overlaps with historic sensitivities about Iraqi influence inside Kuwait; many who continue to be denied Kuwaiti nationality are believed to have emigrated from Iraq”.[7]

Reforms[edit]

Kuwait considers the Bedoon illegal immigrants.[10] Human rights organizations have criticized Kuwait for its handling of the issue. In March 2011, the Kuwaiti government announced a set of "eleven Bidoon rights" that got implemented through new government decrees. These benefits include free education, birth certificates, free health care, and preferential employment in the public sector.

Most Bedoon students receive free education.[10] In June 2011, the Kuwaiti government in coordination with the Zakat house, launched a scholarship fund to support Bedoon students.

In November 2014, the Kuwaiti government offered Comoros citizenship and legal residency to 10,000 Bedoon.[16]

Qatar[edit]

Most of Qatar's Bidoon are stateless tribesmen from the Ghufrani tribe. In 2005, Qatar stripped the citizenship of over 5,000 members of the Al Ghufrani tribe. There are between 1,200 to 1,500 Bidoon in Qatar.[17][18] After international outcry, the government restored the citizenship of approximately 2,000 tribesmen.[18]

Saudi Arabia[edit]

In Saudi Arabia, there is an unknown number of Bidoon.[19]

United Arab Emirates[edit]

In the United Arab Emirates, there are 10,000 Bidoon.[20][21][22]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ World Migration 2005 Costs and Benefits of International Migration. International Organization for Migration. 2005. p. 53. 
  2. ^ Hamad, Aziz A. (1991) A Victory turned sour: human rights in Kuwait since liberation Middle East Watch, Human Rights Watch, New York, page 51, ISBN 1-56432-041-3
  3. ^ Henckaerts, Jean-Marie (1995) Mass expulsion in modern international law and practice Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Dordrecht, Netherlands, page 97, ISBN 90-411-0072-5
  4. ^ a b "Kuwait City Journal; The Bedoons: Outcasts in the Land They Served". In the last century, and more so in the early decades of this one, nomadic shepherds, most from Iraq but indifferent to national boundaries, settled in Kuwait. Because they were not rooted in the pursuits of the original families of Kuwait -- fishing, trading or pearl fishing -- they remained apart from the society that formed the modern state. These people became known as Bedoons, from the Arabic word for "without." 
  5. ^ a b Famous victory: the Gulf War. p. 187. 
  6. ^ a b c "Stateless Bedoons Are Shut Out of Kuwait". The Christian Science Monitor. 
  7. ^ a b "Australian Government - Bedoon". p. 3. 
  8. ^ a b "Government of United Kingdom". p. 4. 
  9. ^ a b "Challenges of Security in Kuwait". p. 5. 
  10. ^ a b c "BBC المليفي في نقطة حوار عن قضية البدون على" (in Arabic). 
  11. ^ "Kuwait: Stateless ‘Bidun’ Denied Rights". Kuwait considers the Bidun "illegal residents." 
  12. ^ 6,051 illegal residents in Kuwait adjusted status by May
  13. ^ "الكويت : 4600 من «البدون» أظهروا جوازات سفرهم السعودية" (in Arabic). 
  14. ^ "Country Information and Guidance Kuwaiti Bidoon". Government of United Kingdom. p. 11. 
  15. ^ "Challenges of Security in Kuwait". p. 6. 
  16. ^ http://news.yahoo.com/kuwait-says-stateless-offered-comoros-citizenship-193019781.html
  17. ^ Beydoun, Nasser (2012). The Glass Palace: Illusions of Freedom and Democracy in Qatar. p. 35. ISBN 978-0875869551. 
  18. ^ a b "Statelessness in Qatar". The International Observatory on Statelessness. Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  19. ^ Stateless Saudi Driven to Self-Immolation
  20. ^ UAE turns to deportation to silence regime's critics
  21. ^ UAE: Stop Expulsion of Bidun Activist
  22. ^ UAE banishes activist for speaking out