KUWAIT: Children's Rights in the UN Special Procedures Reports

Summary: This report extracts mentions of children's rights issues in the reports of the UN Special Procedures. This does not include reports of child specific Special Procedures, such as the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, which are available as separate reports.

Please note that the language may have been edited in places for the purpose of clarity.


UN Report of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance

Maurice Glèlè-Ahanhanzo 

Report published 14 January 1997

  • Legislation on nationality: The legislation on nationality is discriminatory in that it establishes a hierarchy of citizenship. Those who acquired Kuwaiti nationality by virtue of having settled in the country prior to 1920 are full citizens, while those who acquired nationality in other ways do not enjoy the full range of civil and political rights. Furthermore, the child of a Kuwaiti woman married to a Bidun or a foreigner is not Kuwaiti. Kuwaiti nationality is granted at the discretion of the Ministry of the Interior and, as such, does not benefit from any judicial guarantees. Generally speaking, Kuwaiti nationality is considered a privilege, not a right (Paragraph 11)
  • Exclusion and marginalisation: The Act of 1959 has not been correctly applied. One committee accepts a person as Kuwaiti while another says that his brother is not Kuwaiti. Until 1985, they were all considered Kuwaiti. Before that date, a child born of a Kuwaiti mother and a Bidun was considered Kuwaiti. This provision has been repealed, and such children have become stateless. There are cases where, in a single family, children under the age of 18 become Kuwaiti while those over that age remain Bidun (Paragraph 49)
  • Family reunification: Problems also arise in connection with family situations (for example, marriage or family reunification). Marriages are registered at the embassies of those concerned; in the case of Sri Lankans, for example, the Government must give its authorisation and determine that neither of the would-be spouses is registered as married in the home country. Family reunification rights vary according to the type of visa. Holders of No. 20 visas, in other words, domestic workers, may not be joined by their spouses; when two holders of this type of visa marry, they find it difficult to register and obtain residence permits for their children. The right to family reunification is contingent upon a minimum salary of at least KD 650 for holders of No. 18 visas, who work in the private sector (for example, the clothing industry), and at least KD 450 for holders of No. 17 visas, who work for a ministry. Those who meet these criteria may apply directly to the immigration office and be joined by their spouses, but only as holders of No. 20 visas, in other words, as domestic workers, chauffeurs or skilled workers. Domestic workers are not entitled to family reunification. (Paragraph 38)



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