Bedoon naturalization file closed: Govt

KUWAIT: The bedoons’ (stateless) naturalization file has been closed and the government will not approve any proposed laws by MPs to naturalize 2,000 or 4,000 bedoons a year, said informed sources. “Naturalization will be limited with concentration on post graduate degree holders only and those are no more than 10,000,” the sources said. The sources added that bedoons must reveal their original documents; otherwise, naturalization will not take place, except for a very limited number of people who have 1965 census documents. They noted that the number of those included in the 1965 census does not exceed 34,000 and many of them either have security restrictions preventing their naturalization, or have already left the country.

31,000 Earlier reports had suggested that the number of bedoons who could be eligible to receive the Kuwaiti citizenship reaches 31,000. Those people are registered in the 1965 census – a key condition required to qualify for consideration to receive the Kuwaiti citizenship. Meanwhile, the total number of bedoons registered in the Central Agency for Remedying Illegal Residents’ Status reached 110,729 as of March 2015.

The government and parliament had reportedly reached an agreement last year to give priority to bedoons in naturalization after the maximum number of citizenships the state can grant in a year was increased to 4,000, but no naturalization batches were announced before the end of 2014. If the government grants citizenship to 4,000 bedoons every year, it would take eight and a half years to naturalize only those that Kuwait considers eligible to receive citizenship.

Ultimatum The Central Agency was established in 2010 to address problems facing bedoons. It was given a five-year ultimatum when it was established to sort out the stateless residents’ community and find those who meet conditions of naturalization; including residents whose Bedouin ancestors failed to register for citizenship following Kuwait’s independence. Despite government promises and MPs’ efforts to end the decades-long bedoons’ dilemma, Kuwait is yet to grant citizenship to those who meet naturalization conditions that also include having ancestors who served in the military as well as being a child of a Kuwaiti woman. It remains unclear whether the Central Agency has prepared a final solution to the bedoons’ problem to be ready by the end of the year or at any time in the future. In June, a number of MPs strongly criticized the government during a parliament session for ‘refusing’ to resolve the issue.

By A Saleh

This article was published on 22/08/2015