KUWAIT: Islamist opposition MP Mohammad Hayef yesterday demanded that the central agency for stateless people (bedoons) should come under the purview of interior minister in order to hold officials politically accountable for the ill-treatment of bedoons in the country. The lawmaker urged the prime minister and concerned ministers to take necessary measures to grant bedoons their humanitarian and civil rights in order to end their sufferings that have continued for half a century.
He said the call to place the bedoon agency under the interior ministry comes after the agency backed down on pledges to the National Assembly to issue identification cards to bedoons who had obtained fake third-country passports. These people have been deprived of basic humanitarian rights and are unable to send their children to schools because they do not have the required ID normally given to other bedoons.
Hayef insisted that he will not remain silent over the oppression against bedoons, saying that he is prepared to go till the end to stop the wrong and inhuman practices against the bedoons. The lawmaker stressed that the central agency is committing a full-fledged crime against the bedoons, adding that MPs are not demanding that the government grant bedoons citizenship now, but at least treat them fairly and not prevent them the right to education, health, marriage and other rights.
He said that what is being done by the central agency is rejected from a legal, religious and logical point of view that is not in any constitution of the world, urging the prime minister and the government to resolve this issue. Hayef said bedoons must be given identification cards even if the central agency believes they do not qualify for citizenship, adding that the illegal practices against bedoons aim at forcing them to produce citizenships that do not exist.
There are around 120,000 bedoons who or their forefathers have been living in the country for several decades claiming the right to citizenship. The government has insisted that most of them do not deserve Kuwaiti nationality and has urged them to produce their original citizenships.
In another development, MP Omar Al-Tabtabaei said he will submit a motion to the National Assembly calling to refer the controversial issue that some MPs are being paid an additional “exceptional” salary to the constitutional court to rule whether the issue is in line with the constitution.
Tabtabaei, who is one of around 20 lawmakers benefiting from the salary, said he will return what he has received if the court rules that the pay is illegal. The issue was raised after a newspaper said the exceptional salary could have been part of a deal with the government. MPs benefiting from the salary said they get it because they had not been given any pension benefits in the past.
By B Izzak