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National Assembly to pass domestic helpers law today – Islamist MP questions visit of Iraqi cleric

KUWAIT: The National Assembly is scheduled today to have the second and final votes on a number of key legislation dealing with the rights of domestic helpers besides debating budgets.

MPs are highly expected to pass the first Kuwaiti legislation ever to regulate the affairs of maids, cooks, private drivers and alike after they have been governed by a ministerial decision. The law provides a number of important rights to domestic helpers including an eight-hour working day, a weekly rest, an annual leave and end of service indemnity, all of which were never guaranteed under existing regulations.

The Assembly is also expected to pass a related law to set up shareholding companies to be responsible for the recruitment of domestic helpers with the aim to reduce the costs and regulate the process. Lawmakers will likely approve a law to establish the national human rights commission, also the first government- sponsored human rights body in the country. Head of the Priorities Committee MP Youssef Al- Zalzalah said a request to debate statements by the oil minister will not be taken up today but will be delayed for tomorrow.

In a related development, Islamist Salafi MP Abdulrahman Al-Jeeran yesterday asked the Interior Minister about how Iraqi Shiite cleric Jaafar Al-Ibrahimi entered the country and who invited him. Jeeran described Ibrahimi as an extremist who has insulted thousands of the companions of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).

The lawmaker asked the minister about how Ibrahimi was given an entry visa and what will the ministry do now after learning that he has been insulting Islamic religious figures. The entry of such personalities - both Sunni and Shiites had triggered sectarian tensions in Kuwait in the past and led to authorities deporting or banning the entry of religious figures from both sects. In the meantime, another Islamist lawmaker called on the government yesterday to review its aid to Lebanon over reports of systematic torture of Sunni detainees with suspected sectarian motivations.

MP Humoud Al-Hamdan, secretary of the National Assembly human rights committee, said the government should revise its aid and donations to Lebanon where the government appears to be unable to control prisons. Hamdan said that according to reports there have been systematic torture of Islamist detainees and Syrian opposition members at the hands of sectarian Lebanese security officers. Meanwhile, the controversy over a draft law for the independence of judiciary appears to be heading for a solution that could allow the Assembly to debate and approve the bill before going into summer recess after two weeks. The bill has been widely criticized by lawmakers and even by the judiciary for attempting to make the judiciary even more dependent on the justice ministry.

By B Izzak

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This article was published on 22/06/2015