Critics of the Prime Minister were harassed and prosecuted. Foreign migrant workers were exploited and abused by employers. Thousands of Bidun resident in Kuwait remained stateless, impeding their access to health, education and other rights. At least three people were sentenced to death; no executions were reported.
Kuwait’s human rights record was assessed under the UN Universal Periodic Review in May. In September, the government accepted 114 recommendations, including to improve conditions for foreign migrant workers, and rejected 25 recommendations, including to establish a moratorium on executions.Top of page
Two critics of the Prime Minister continued to face harassment and prosecution.
Two Kuwaiti nationals, Fawzi al-Odah and Faiz al-Kandari, continued to be detained by the US authorities at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. In September, a US judge denied a habeas corpus petition brought on behalf of Faiz al-Kandari, effectively consigning him to indefinite detention.
In April, the government refused appeals by the US authorities to confiscate the passports and impose other restrictions on two former Guantánamo detainees, Khaled al-Mutairi and Fouad al-Rabia.
In May, eight men accused of belonging to al-Qa’ida and planning to attack a US base in Kuwait were acquitted by a criminal court; the acquittals were confirmed by the Court of Appeal on 28 October. In December 2009, a court had accepted that the accused were ill-treated in pre-trial detention; no action was known to have been taken against those allegedly responsible for their ill-treatment.Top of page
Women continued to face discrimination in law and practice. However, the government enacted new legislation to make Kuwaiti women eligible to receive the state social allowance if their husbands do not receive it and to provide for paid maternity leave for women employed by the state.
In November, the government announced what it called a comprehensive plan to resolve the problems facing the Bidun community, indicating that many would be accorded Kuwaiti nationality although more than half would not and so would remain stateless. Thousands of Bidun long resident in Kuwait have continued to be denied Kuwaiti nationality and are currently stateless. As such, they are denied access to health, education, employment and social services on an equitable basis with Kuwaiti citizens.Top of page
Foreign migrant workers were inadequately protected by law and in practice, so continued to be exploited and abused by employers. Suicide rates among such workers were reported to be high.
New labour legislation relating largely to the private sector came into force on 20 February. It prohibits the employment of minors aged under 15 and requires that a public authority be established to oversee the recruitment and employment of foreign migrant workers.Top of page
At least two men and one woman were sentenced to death for murder. One death sentence was reported to have been commuted on appeal. No executions were reported.
In December, Kuwait was one of the minority of states that voted against a UN General Assembly resolution calling for a worldwide moratorium on executions.Top of page