Bedoon (social class)

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Total population
Regions with significant populations
Kuwait, Iraq, Saudi Arabia
Arabic, Balochi, Farsi

The Bedoon (Arabic: بدونBidūn originally as bidun jinsiyya Arabic: بدون جنسية‎, "without nationality") is a social class in countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council and Iraq.[1] The Bedoon are reportedly stateless people. Several governments recognize them as illegal immigrants.


Kuwait considers the Bedoon illegal immigrants.[2] The Kuwaiti government believes the Bedoon are foreign nationals from neighboring countries.[2] Although many Bedoon are genuinely stateless, there is no evidence that some Bedoon are foreign nationals hiding their true nationalities. Kuwait recently discovered the true nationalities of 6,000 Bedoon, most of whom were Saudi citizens.[3][4]

On March, the 7th of 2018, The Kuwaiti Assembly passed a law that allows the Bedoons to join the army. [5]


The Bedoon are categorized into three groups.[6] The first group consists of stateless tribesmen whose ancestors had settled in Kuwait but were excluded from registration at the time of the state's independence.[6] The second group consists of former citizens of Iraq, Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries who abandoned their original nationality to join Kuwaiti armed forces and police in the 1960s and 1970s.[7][8][9] The Kuwaiti government preferred to register these people as "Bedoon" rather than to reveal the politically-sensitive recruitment policy in the armed forces and police.[6] At the time, the Bedoon status conferred many economic benefits.[7][6] The third group is composed of children of Kuwaiti women married to Bedoon men.[6]

In 1985, the Bedoon were excluded from the same social and economic rights enjoyed by Kuwaiti citizens as the country needed to isolate them from the rest of the society. The Iran–Iraq War threatened Kuwait's internal stability and the country feared the ambiguous status of the Bedoon which provides a human pool for Iraqi refugees, draft dodgers and infiltrators to blend after getting rid of their identity papers.[10] In 1985, the then emir Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah escaped an assassination attempt. Later that same year, the government changed the Bedoon's status from that of legal residents without nationality to illegal residents.[10]

There are 110,729 officially registered Bedoon in Kuwait. According to the Kuwaiti government, only 34,000 Bedoon are eligible for Kuwaiti citizenship and the remaining Bedoon are expected Iraqis and Saudis.[11]


Kuwait recognizes the Bedoon as illegal residents.[2] Human rights organizations have criticized Kuwait for its handling of the issue. Many Bedoon do not have birth certificates and driving licenses. In March 2011, the Kuwaiti government announced a set of "eleven Bidoon rights".[citation needed]

In June 2011, the Kuwaiti government, in coordination with the Zakat house, launched a scholarship fund to support Bedoon students. The Bedoon currently account for 40% of the Kuwaiti Army.[12]

There are 110,729 documented Bedoon. Documented Bedoon are at risk of persecution or breach of human rights;[13] undocumented Bedoon are.[13]

United Arab Emirates[edit]

According to Article 17 of the United Arab Emirates Citizenship and Passport Law of Year 1972, any individual who resided in the Trucial States prior to 1925 is eligible to obtain the UAE citizenship.[14] Many stateless who have lived in the UAE have failed to obtain Emirati passports, either because they failed to demonstrate that they lived in the region prior to 1925 or because the have arrived to the region after 1925. These people are generally considered immigrants from Baloch or Iranian origin.

Although they are not considered Emirati citizens, their status and residence in UAE is legalized. Stateless who do not hold any passport are offered the Comorian passport for free through a citizenship by investment deal worth million of dollars with the government of Comoros and enjoy certain citizenship privileges such as free education and access to free healthcare in the UAE.[15] Only 15% of the total population in UAE is considered true Emirati and enjoy the full privileges of citizenship.[16]