Kuwait pledges full investigation into alleged orphanage abuses

July 11, 2011

Kuwait has vowed to take strict legal action against people implicated in alleged abuses in children’s homes in Kuwait.

Mohammad Al Afassi, the labour and social affairs minister, made the pledge following the publication of a report about serious abuses and violations at state-run children’s homes.

“Abuse of the children of Kuwait will not be tolerated,” said the minister responsible for running the state’s residential care facilities. “Anyone with evidence of violations should cooperate with the social care department’s officials so that violators are punished,” he said.

The head of the ministry’s social care department and the assistant undersecretary responsible for its supervision have been instructecd to deal urgently with all substantiated claims of wrongdoing, the minister said, Kuwait Times daily reported.

“Covering up a crime is punishable by law,” he said.

Al Afassi said that whilst he had not seen any such violations during his own unscheduled visits to the state’s orphanages, there was a need to “refer some individuals to the public prosecution for investigation regarding the allegations”.

The report, published in Kuwaiti dailies, referred to complaints sent by staff members at some orphanages about “serious” and “inhuman” abuses committed against the vulnerable young residents of these homes. The allegations included claims of sexual and physical abuse, with young children being housed in the same accommodation as teenagers.

The report also raised concerns about the lack of training in socialisation skills for the orphanage residents and subsequent negative attitudes.

The lack of procedures to protect the more vulnerable children from bullying behaviour or to separate residents into age-appropriate groups was also a serious issue, the report said.

MP Walid Al Tabtabai, a member of the parliamentary human rights committee, said they would visit local orphanages to look into the allegations.

“We are waiting for the ministry’s feedback on the report,” he said, quoted by the daily.

Lawmaker Maasouma Al Mubarak, one of the four women in the parliament, said that she was shocked to hear about the violations in the childcare homes.

“We feel ashamed as citizens, as human beings who are supposed to assume the duty of protecting children deprived of the care of a normal family”, she said. “This issue should have the top priority for the social ministry to investigate.”




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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