KUWAIT: The EU Ambassador to the State of Kuwait and the State of Qatar, Cristian Tudor, has presented the 2020 Chaillot Prize for the Promotion of Human Rights in the GCC region to its recipient, “Gray Area”, a Kuwaiti civil society initiative that aims to raise awareness of the social stigmas and legal inequalities experienced by children of Kuwaiti mothers and non-Kuwaiti fathers.
In his speech, during a small ceremony at the EU residence (adhering to the precautionary health measures in order to limit the spread of coronavirus in the State of Kuwait), Ambassador Tudor said: “As a way of constructively promoting Human Rights in the GCC, the European Union Delegations in the region, together with the Embassies of the Member States, award the Chaillot Prize to a civil society organization (CSO) or individuals, for theirs efforts in the promotion of human rights in the GCC, every year.
We are very proud to award this prize to Gray Area as their efforts in advocating for the non-citizen children of Kuwaiti mothers and raising awareness of the ambiguity of some of the laws pertaining to them, have been very noteworthy and ought to be highlighted.
“For us in the EU, promoting and defending human rights is at the heart of our external policy as they are among the EU’s founding values of human dignity, freedom and respect for human rights. We do that with the hope of creating a better, more just world.”
A spokesperson from Gray Area said: “We would like to thank the delegation of the European Union to the State of Kuwait for this award as it highlights our efforts towards the need for urgency of gender equality in nationality laws not only in Kuwait, but in the region. We would also like to thank our community for its endless support, and we hope this is the mark of many more milestones to come as we continue to advocate for the naturalization of children of Kuwaiti mothers.”
The Chaillot Prize is awarded to civil society organizations and public or private institutions for actions, campaigns and projects, which support human rights awareness, promotion and protection in the GCC region. The Prize is named after the Palais de Chaillot in Paris where the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted on 10 December 1948 by the United Nations General Assembly. The announcement of the 2020 Chaillot Prize winner took place on 10 December 2020 to mark the 72nd anniversary of the adoption of the declaration.
Throughout the past three years, Gray Area has been raising awareness about the various inequalities surrounding the legal rights of children of Kuwaiti mothers. Only 25 of 197 countries around the world currently do not grant women gender equality in nationality laws, and 12 of those countries are in the Middle East and North Africa region.
While organizations in the past have advocated the topic of naturalization of children of Kuwaiti women from a women’s rights perspective, Gray Area is amplifying the voices of the children while challenging society’s view of women who marry non-nationals. Their “Gray Stories” campaign is a collection of short stories told by children of Kuwaiti mothers that highlight their struggles. By taking a storytelling approach, Gray Area is extending a platform for children of Kuwaiti mothers to tell their stories in their own way.