The New Arab Logo

Breaking News
Kuwait allows stateless 'Bidoons' to serve in armed forces Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Kuwait allows stateless 'Bidoons' to serve in armed forces

Rights groups have long called on Kuwaiti authorities to grant stateless people full rights [Getty]

Date of publication: 6 March, 2018

Share this page:
  • 0

  • twitter
Kuwaiti lawmakers have passed legislation allowing the country's "stateless people" to serve in the military, state-run media has reported.

Kuwaiti lawmakers have passed legislation allowing the country's "stateless people" to serve in the military, state-run media has reported.

Kuwait's national assembly approved the second reading of the draft legislation on Tuesday by a vote of 52 to 5 with one lawmaker abstaining, the official news agency KUNA reported.

"Priority in military recruitment will be given to Kuwaitis, then the sons of Kuwaiti women, then non-Kuwaitis from the 1965 census or those who can prove they have roots in Kuwait before that," the legislation states.

It added that preference would then be granted to "non-Kuwaitis who are the sons of soldiers".

The legislative body passed the first reading of the bill last month that will allow residents of Kuwait who do not have citizenship - known locally as "Bidoons" - to enlist in the army.

First Deputy to the Minister of Defence Sheikh Nasser Al Sabah told lawmakers after the vote that the law would "help build national unity".

"The army needs those whose fathers were martyred for the nation," Sheikh Nasser said.

More than 110,000 Bidoons have lived in Kuwait for decades, claiming the right to citizenship in the oil-rich emirate and the generous welfare benefits that accompany it.

Last April, Kuwait's military said the sons of stateless people who had served in the military would be allowed join the ground and air forces.

A source in the ministry of defence told The New Arab at the time that the decision was taken to tackle a shortage of troops.

Some Bidoons are the descendants of Bedouin tribesmen who did not ask for citizenship when Kuwait became independent in 1961.

Others are Arabs who joined the army in the 1970s and 80s but were never granted citizenship.

Since independence, Bidoons have formed the backbone of Kuwait's military and police forces, however, over the past decade the military has eliminated many Bidoons from service.

Rights groups have long called on Kuwaiti authorities to grant stateless people full rights as citizens.

The New ArabComments

Most Popular

Most Popular

    Read More