Bidoon protests triggered by Kuwait-Iraq talks: report

February 24, 2011

Protests by Bidoon (Arabs without proper documents) in Kuwait may have been motivated by recent Kuwaiti-Iraqi talks that suggested that some of those without passports could be in fact Iraqi citizens, a local daily reported.

Quoting a government insider it did not name, Kuwait Times said that the claim by Bidoon that their protests over the weekend were staged solely to demand citizenship and basic rights might not be true.

“Saleh Al Fadhalah, the chairman of the body established to determine how to resolve the problems facing bidoon residents, the Central System for Remedying the Status of Illegal Residents (CSRSIR), met Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki during his recent visit to Kuwait,” the source said.

“During the meeting, Al Fadhalah asked the Iraqi premier for details on 25,000 of Kuwait’s bidoon residents, roughly a sixth of the total of around 120,000, who are suspected by Kuwait of being Iraqi nationals,” according to the newspaper.

The insider claimed that the protesters had “used an international situation” to demonstrate and demand rights, adding that their numbers were limited.

Bidoon demonstrators are protesting against the denial of basic rights to them, such as healthcare, education and job opportunities, as well as the right to be given birth and death certificates, civil IDs, passports or drivers’ licenses, according to the Kuwaiti media.

On Saturday, the second day of the protests in Jahra, Al Fadhalah issued a statement claiming that 12,471 bidoon who had applied for official birth certificates for children born between 2005 and 2010 failed to show up at the registration offices to collect the documents that indicate their original nationalities.

“The claims by bidoon protesters are not entirely genuine. The law ensures the provision of educational, healthcare and housing services, as well as immigration and marriage documentation, and driving and residency licenses for illegal residents under Article 17 of the residency legislation,” he said.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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