Kuwait, dictatorship and United States ally

This video is called Kuwait’s Protest: Kuwait’s Stateless citizens, aka Biduns, protest for their human rights.

By Kate Randall:

US State Department human rights reports

Gulf allies: A record of repression and torture

Part 4: Kuwait

27 April 2011

The US State Department recently released its “2010 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices”. This year’s annual report provides details on human rights conditions in over 190 countries. Included are reports on the member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which represents the US-backed monarchies of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait.

This Saudi-dominated alliance backed the imposition of a no-fly zone in Libya, and has provided key support for the attack on Libya by the United States and European powers. The GCC has also provided military and police personnel to put down insurrections against the repressive regimes in Bahrain and Yemen.

While the US seeks to cloak its imperialist assault on Libya in “humanitarian” terms, its allies in the GCC are guilty of widespread violations of human rights and practice repression and torture in their own countries. This WSWS series examines these human rights abuses as documented in the State Department reports. This installment covers Kuwait. See our previous reports on Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain.

Kuwait is a hereditary emirate ruled by the al-Sabah family. The country has the world’s fifth-largest oil reserves and petroleum products account for nearly 95 percent of export revenues.

Kuwait has the 11th highest per capita income in the world, although these riches are disproportionately allocated to the ruling family and its wealthy associates in the ruling elite. Of its population of 3.44 million, only about a third, or 1.1 million, are citizens. Noncitizens—many of whom work as domestic servants—face pervasive discrimination.

Kuwait is a major non-NATO ally of the United States, hosting multiple US military bases, and has served as the staging area for the US occupation of Iraq. In late 2010 and early 2011, the client regime detained and tortured a 19-year-old American citizen, apparently on Washington’s orders, before returning him to the US after a month. (See “US youth returns home after torture in Kuwait”)

According to the US State Department’s 2010 report on Kuwait, principal human rights abuses in the country included:

“[L]imitations on citizens’ right to change their government. There were reports of security forces abusing prisoners. Authorities limited freedoms of speech, press, assembly, association, and religion. The government limited freedom of movement for certain groups, including foreign workers and stateless Arab residents (called ‘Bidoon’). The status of the Bidoon remained unresolved and they faced social and legal discrimination.

“Trafficking in persons remained a problem. Women did not enjoy equal rights. Worker rights were limited, and expatriate workers were subject to severe limitations of rights and discrimination as well, especially in the domestic and unskilled service sectors.”

Torture, prison conditions and arbitrary arrest

Criminal law prohibits torture and other inhumane treatment, but there were numerous reports of police and security forces abusing detainees during 2010. Such abuse was more likely to be inflicted on noncitizens, particularly non-Gulf Arabs and Asians. There were several reports of police abuse of transgendered persons.

In February a court upheld a two-year prison sentence for three police officers accused of the 2008 torture of a young man in prison. No charges have yet been brought in the alleged abuse by security officials of hundreds of Bangladeshi workers in the wake of a labor dispute in 2008. The government generally does not make public any findings in such cases, or punishments that have been imposed.

From the USA: Syria follows lead of our ally Bahrain and starts going after doctors: here.

7 thoughts on “Kuwait, dictatorship and United States ally

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