Human rights in Kuwait

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Coat of Arms of Kuwait-2.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of

Human rights in Kuwait derive from the 1961 Constitution of Kuwait as well as a series of international treaties.[1]


Kuwait is a party to several international human rights treaties, including[2]

Freedom rankings[edit]

In Reporters Without Borders and Freedom House rankings of the world's freest countries, Kuwait ranks among the most free countries in the Middle East and North Africa region. In 2013, Kuwait was ranked the freest country in freedom of press in the Middle East region (#77 out of 179 countries).[3] In 2014, Kuwait was ranked #91 of 180 by Reporters Without Borders in the Press Freedom index, thus Kuwait was again the freest country in freedom of press in the Middle East and North Africa region.[4] In 2011 and 2012, Reporters without Borders ranked Kuwait the freest Middle East country in freedom of press in the Press Freedom Index (#78 out of 179 countries).[5] In 2000-2014, Freedom House ranked the country as "Partly Free".[1]

Human Trafficking[edit]

In June 2007, Kuwait was found to be one of the worst offenders in human trafficking according to a report issued by the United States Department of State. The finding was due to the Kuwait government's repeated failure to tackle the problem. Some migrant workers are subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude by employers in Kuwait. The workers were subject to physical and sexual abuse, non-payment of wages, threats, confinement to the home, and withholding of passports to restrict their freedom of movement.[6][7]

Women's Rights[edit]

Kuwaiti women are considered to be among the most emancipated women in the Middle East region.[8] In 2011, Kuwait was ranked highest of all Middle East countries in gender equality in the Human Development Report's Gender Inequality Index.[8] In 2012, 50% of Kuwaiti women participated in the labor force.[9] The participation of Kuwaiti women in the labor force is much higher than the regional average.[10] Kuwait was ranked the second highest Middle East country in gender equality in the 2012 Global Gender Gap Report.[11]

When voting was first introduced in Kuwait in 1985, Kuwaiti women had the right to vote.[12] This right was later removed. Women's suffrage was re-granted in May 2005.

In June 2007 the National Assembly of Kuwait passed a law that bars women from working between 8:00 pm and 7:00 am with an exception for women working in the medical and teaching professions.[13] On January 2014, women were permitted to become judges. Children born to a Kuwaiti mother and non kuwaiti father do not get citizenship unless the father is stateless, dead or divored with the Kuwaiti mother.[14]

Internet freedom[edit]

Kuwait is engaged in pervasive Internet filtering in the social and Internet tools areas and selective filtering in political and conflict/security areas according to a report from the OpenNet Initiative in June 2009.[15] The primary target of Internet filtering is pornography and, to a lesser extent, gay and lesbian content. Some Web sites that are related to religions other than Islam are blocked even though they are not necessarily critical of Islam.[15] The Kuwait Ministry of Communication regulates ISPs, forcing them to block pornography, anti-religion and anti-security websites to "protect the public by maintaining both public order and morality".[16] Both private ISPs and the government take actions to filter the Internet.[17][18]

The Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR) operates the Domain Name System in Kuwait and does not register domain names which are "injurious to public order or to public sensibilities or otherwise do not comply with the laws of Kuwait".[19] Voice over Internet Protocol is illegal in Kuwait.[20] Not only have many VoIP Web sites been blocked by the MOC, but expatriates have been deported for using or running VOIP services.[21]

In September 2008 in response to several videos declared "offensive to Muslims", the Kuwaiti Ministry of Communication directed Kuwaiti ISPs to block YouTube. However, as of July 2009, YouTube was accessible in Kuwait.[15][22][23][24] Kuwaiti online activist Nasser Abul was detained from July to September 2011 following a series of tweets criticizing the Bahraini ruling family's crackdown on Arab Spring protesters.[25] He was released following an outcry from international human rights organizations[26][27] as well as the Chairman of the Human Rights Committee of Kuwait's own National Assembly.[28] In 2012, Twitter user Nasser al-Ansary was sentenced to five years in jail for “defaming the emir of Kuwait”,[29] and blogger Hamad al-Naqi was sentenced to ten years' imprisonment for tweets considered by a court to be insulting to Islam and to the rulers of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia,[30] leading Amnesty International to designate him a prisoner of conscience.[26] In 2013, Twitter user Iyad al-Harbi was sentenced to two years in jail for “defaming the emir of Kuwait”.[29]

Deportation of immigrants[edit]

The government of Kuwait has announced that it will be reducing the population of migrant workers from 2.6 million to 1 million, this means 100000 expats every year, have to leave the country in the next 10 years.This has resulted in facilitating quick, non-judicial and deportations.[14] Many expats have been deported for minor traffic charges without any judicial review. Kuwait has forced expats to leave indirectly eg. by restricting expats to driving tests by imposing hard driving tests and allowing non university degree holders to get a license.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Freedom in the World: Kuwait". Freedom House. 2011. Retrieved 25 June 2012. 
  2. ^ "Ratification of International Human Rights Treaties - Kuwait". University of Minnesota Human Rights Library. Retrieved 25 June 2012. 
  3. ^ "2013 Press Freedom Index". Reports without Borders. 2013. Retrieved 6 June 2013. 
  4. ^ "Press Freedom Index 2014". Reporters Without Borders. Retrieved 26 February 2014. 
  5. ^ "Press Freedom Index 2011/2012". Reporters Without Borders. Retrieved 25 June 2012. 
  6. ^ "Trafficking in Persons Report 2007". U.S. Department of State. 2007. Retrieved 25 June 2012. 
  7. ^ "2007: Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights". International Trade Union Confederation. 2007. Retrieved 25 June 2012. 
  8. ^ a b "Gender inequality". Retrieved 2013-07-28. 
  9. ^ "Millennium Development Goals Progress Report". p. 12. Retrieved 2013-07-28. 
  10. ^ "Kuwait: Selected Issues and Statistical Appendix". International Monetary Fund. 2012. p. 43. 
  11. ^ Gender Gap Report 2012 Page 19
  12. ^ Apollo Rwomire (2001). African Women and Children: Crisis and Response. p. 8. 
  13. ^ "Kuwait bans women from working at night". Gulf News. 11 June 2007. Retrieved 25 June 2012. 
  14. ^ a b c ?, ? (10 March 2014). Human rights watch. Kuwait City: ?. p. 2. 
  15. ^ a b c ONI Country Profile: Kuwait", OpenNet Initiative, 6 August 2009
  16. ^ "Kuwait: State of the media", Menassat
  17. ^ "Middle East and North Africa: Kuwait", Media Sustainability Index, 2006
  18. ^ "Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Kuwait – 2007", Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, U.S. Department of State, 11 March 2008
  19. ^ Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research web site
  20. ^ "VOIP Policy and Regulation: Regional perspective", Professor Ibrahim Kadi, Communications and Information Technology Commission, presented at the regional seminar on Internet Protocol: VOIP, Algiers, Algeria, 12 March 2007
  21. ^ "Ministry blocks call sites on web", Kuwait Times Online, 13 May 2007
  22. ^ We want five! Kuwait, the internet, and the public sphere, Jon Nordenson, Master Thesis (ARA4590), Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages, University of Oslo, May 2010, page 36
  23. ^ "Kuwait blocks YouTube" (original)[dead link] (alternate), Jamie Etheridge, Kuwait Times, 22 September 2008
  24. ^ "Letter from Kuwait Ministry of Communications to Kuwaiti ISPs", 22 September 2008
  25. ^ "Urgent action (follow up) : Kuwait. Online activist Nasser Abul sentenced for tweeting.". Amnesty International. 29 September 2011. Retrieved 12 January 2012. 
  26. ^ a b "Kuwaiti Arrested for Tweeting About Protests". Amnesty International. 15 June 2011. Retrieved 12 January 2012. 
  27. ^ "Kuwait: Release Jailed Internet Scribes". Human Rights Watch. 13 July 2011. Retrieved 12 January 2012. 
  28. ^ Nihal Sharaf (19 September 2011). "Release Twitter activist Nasser Abul: Al-Duwaisan". The Arab Times. Retrieved 12 January 2012. 
  29. ^ a b "With Kuwait Twitter Arrests, the Emir’s Gloves Come Off". Al Akhbar. 
  30. ^ "Kuwait Court Gives 10 Years for Twitter 'Insults'". ABC News. Associated Press. 8 June 2012. Retrieved 8 June 2012. 

External links[edit]