The Human Truth Foundation

Human Rights and Freedom in Kuwait

By Vexen Crabtree 2018


Comments:
FB, LJ

#equality #freedom #human_rights #islam #kuwait #politics #tolerance #yemen

Kuwait
State of Kuwait

[Country Profile Page]
StatusIndependent State
CapitalKuwait
Land Area 17 820km21
LocationAsia, Middle East
Population2.9m (2011)2
Life Expectancy74.55yrs (2017)3
GNI$76 075 (2017)4
ISO3166-1 CodesKW, KWT, 4145
Internet Domain.kw6
CurrencyDinar (KWD)7
Telephone+9658

Kuwait is generally poor at ensuring human rights and freedom compared to the rest of the world. Kuwait comes in the top 20 in eliminating modern slavery9. It does better than average in its Global Peace Index rating10, fighting corruption11, opposing gender inequality12 and in supporting press freedom13. It is one of the few Gulf states that constructively allows Human Rights Watch to engage directly in making observations. Kuwait does not succeed in everything, however. It does worse than average in commentary from Human Rights Watch14, supporting personal, civil & economic freedoms15 and in its nominal commitment to Human Rights16. And finally, it falls into the bottom 20 in fighting anti-semitic opinions17 and in LGBT equality18. Native Bidun peoples are oppressed and abused19. Free speech is overly restricted and dissenters and political opponents are frequently harassed and persecuted, often in the name of national security19. Despite making some positive reforms, more needs to be done to protect migrant workers (who make up 2/3 of the population) against abuse and forced labour19. Kuwait does not accept the concept of freedom of belief and religious persecution is rife20; anyone convicted of insulting Islam cannot run for office nor vote19. Male homosexuality is punishable by up to seven years in prison or expulsion19. Kuwait has participated in coalition battles in Yemen, and has possibly been involved in some attacks which constituted serious war crimes there19.


1. Politics and Freedom

#antisemitism #burundi #corruption #eritrea #france #freedom #human_development #human_rights #indonesia #Kuwait #mass_media #peace #politics #slavery

Free speech is overly restricted and dissenters and political opponents are often harassed and persecuted, often in the name of national security19.

Kuwaiti authorities have invoked several provisions in the constitution, penal code, Printing and Publication Law, Misuse of Telephone Communications and Bugging Devices Law, Public Gatherings Law, and National Unity Law to prosecute journalists, politicians, and activists for criticizing the emir, the government, religion, and rulers of neighboring countries in blogs or on Twitter, Facebook, or other social media. [...]

The Cybercrime Law, which went into effect in 2016, includes far-reaching restrictions on internet-based speech, such as prison sentences, and fines for insulting religion, religious figures, and the emir.

"World Report 2018" by Human Rights Watch (2018)19

Anti-Semite Opinions (2014)17
Pos.Lower is better
%17
1Laos0
2Philippines3
3Sweden4
...
93UAE80
94Jordan81
95Bahrain81
96Kuwait82
97Tunisia86
98Algeria87
99Libya87
100Yemen88
World Avg36.8
q=101.
Corruption (2012-2016)11
Pos.Higher is better
Avg Score11
1Denmark90.8
2New Zealand90.6
3Finland89.4
...
64Turkey45.4
65Lesotho45.2
66Romania44.8
67Kuwait44.2
68Italy43.8
69S. Africa43.6
70Montenegro43.2
71Sao Tome & Principe42.8
World Avg43.05
q=176.
Global Peace Index (2012)10
Pos.Lower is better10
1Iceland1.11
2New Zealand1.24
3Denmark1.24
...
44Argentina1.76
45Latvia1.77
46UAE1.79
47Kuwait1.79
48Mozambique1.80
49Namibia1.80
50Ghana1.81
51Zambia1.83
World Avg2.02
q=157.

Human Rights Watch Comments (2017)14
Pos.Higher is better
Score14
1UK9
2France9
3Germany9
...
74Thailand-4
75Angola-4
76Kyrgyzstan-4
77Kuwait-4
78Azerbaijan-5
79China-5
80Cambodia-5
81Uganda-5
World Avg-1.9
q=123.
Nominal Commitment to HR (2009)16
Pos.Higher is better
Treaties16
1Argentina24
2Chile23
3Costa Rica23
...
142Israel12
143Angola12
144Suriname12
145Kuwait12
146Trinidad & Tobago12
147Lebanon12
148Thailand11
149Barbados11
World Avg15.1
q=194.
Personal, Civil & Economic Freedom (2014)15
Pos.Lower is better
Rank15
1Hong Kong1
2Switzerland2
3New Zealand3
...
111Ukraine111
112Senegal111
113Colombia111
114Kuwait111
115Malaysia115
116Russia115
117Qatar117
118UAE118
World Avg79.7
q=159.

Press Freedom (2013)13
Pos.Lower is better13
1Finland638
2Netherlands648
3Norway652
...
73Armenia2804
74Malawi2818
75Congo, (Brazzaville)2820
76Kuwait2828
77Nicaragua2831
78Benin2833
79Dominican Rep.2834
80Lesotho2836
World Avg3249
q=178.

Slavery (2018)9
Pos.Lower is better
% Victims9
1Japan0.03
2Canada0.05
3Taiwan0.05
...
10USA0.13
11Argentina0.13
12Hong Kong0.14
13Kuwait0.15
14Luxembourg0.15
15Qatar0.15
16Denmark0.16
17Paraguay0.16
World Avg0.65
q=167.

The taking of slaves has been an unwholesome feature of Human cultures since prehistory21. Private households and national endeavours have frequently been augmented with the use of slaves. The Egyptian and Roman empires both thrived on them for both purposes. Aside from labourers they are often abused sexually by their owners and their owners' friends22. The era of colonialism and the beginnings of globalisation changed nothing: the imprisonment and forced movements of labour continued to destroy many lives except that new justifications were invented based on Christian doctrine and the effort to convert non-Christians. By 1786 over 12 million slaves had been extracted from Africa and sent to colonial labour camps, with a truly atrocious condition of life23. But they were not the only ones to blame; in Africa internal nations such as the Asantes sold and bought tens of thousands of slaves24.

The abolition of the slave trade was a long and slow process. Until a relatively modern time, even philosophers, religious leaders and those concerned with ethics justified, or ignored, the problem of slavery25. The first abolitionists were always the slaves themselves. Their protests and rebellions caused the industry to become too expensive to continue. After that, it was the economic costs of maintain slave colonies that led the British to reject and then oppose the slave trade globally. Finally, the enlightenment-era thinkers of France encouraged moral and ethical thinking including the declaration of the inherent value of human life and human dignity26. A long-overdue wave of compassionate and conscientious movements swept across the West, eliminating public support for slavery, until the industries and churches that supported it had no choice but to back down.

'Modern slavery' includes forced labour (often of the under-age), debt bondage (especially generational), sexual slavery, chattel slavery and other forms of abuse, some of which can be surprisingly difficult to detect, but often target those fleeing from warzones and the vulnerable.27. Some industries (diamond, clothing, coal) from some countries (Burundi9, Eritrea9, Indonesia28) are a particular concern. The Walk Free Foundation, say that in 2016, 40.3 million people were living in modern slavery29.

Although Kuwait made some positive reforms in 2017, more needs to be done to protect migrant workers against abuse and forced labour19. Such workers make up 2/3 of the entire population19.

2. Gender Equality

#gender #Kuwait #misogyny #politics #women

Gender Inequality (2015)12
Pos.Lower is better12
1Switzerland0.04
2Denmark0.04
3Netherlands0.04
...
67Trinidad & Tobago0.32
68Azerbaijan0.33
69Turkey0.33
70Kuwait0.33
71Vietnam0.34
72Romania0.34
73Mexico0.35
74St Lucia0.35
World Avg0.36
q=159.

Gender inequality is not a necessary part of early human development. Although a separation of roles is almost universal due to different strengths between the genders, this does not have to mean that women are subdued, and, such patriarchialism is not universal in ancient history. Those cultures and peoples who shed, or never developed, the idea that mankind ought to dominate womankind, are better cultures and peoples than those who, even today, cling violently to those mores.

Year Women Can Vote30
Pos.Lower is better
Year30
1New Zealand1893
2Australia1902
3Finland1906
...
182Samoa1990
183Kazakhstan1993
184Moldova1994
185Oman1994
186Qatar2003
187Kuwait2005
188Saudi Arabia0
189Vatican City0
World Avg1930
q=189.

Kuwait has made some steps towards ending gender inequality but much more needs to be done.

Kuwaiti personal status law, which applies to Sunni Muslims who make up most Kuwaitis, discriminates against women. For example, some women require a male guardian to conclude their marriage contracts; women must apply to the courts for a divorce on limited grounds unlike men who can unilaterally divorce their wives; and women can lose custody of their children if they remarry someone outside the family. Men can marry up to four wives, without the permission or knowledge of the other wife or wives. A man can prohibit his wife from working if it is deemed to negatively affect the family interests. The rules that apply to Shia Muslims also discriminate against women.

Kuwait has no laws prohibiting domestic violence or marital rape.

"World Report 2018" by Human Rights Watch (2018)19

See:

3. LGBT Equality and Tolerance

#equality #homosexuality #human_rights #intolerance #Kuwait #sexuality #tolerance

LGBT Equality (2017)18
Pos.Higher is better
Score18
1Netherlands103
2Belgium90
3Sweden86
...
180Tuvalu-30
181Mauritania-32
182UAE-34
183Kuwait-37
184Algeria-37
185Tunisia-39
186Guinea-39
187Cameroon-39
World Avg12.6
q=196.

Discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) folk is rife across the world. Legal restrictions co-exist alongside social stigmatisation and physical violence31. LGBT tolerance and equal rights have been fought for country-by-country across the world, often against tightly entrenched cultural and religious opposition. Adult consensual sexual activity is a Human Right, protected by privacy laws32. Despite this, homosexual activity is outlawed in around 80 countries31. The Social & Moral LGBT Equality Index was created to compare countries and regions, granting points to each country for a variety of factors including how long gay sex has been criminalized and the extent of LGBT legal rights. Graded negative points are given for criminality of homosexuality, unequal ages of consent, legal punishments and for not signing international accords on LGBT tolerance. The signs in many developed countries are positive, and things are gradually improving. Europe is by far the least prejudiced region (Scandinavia in particular being exemplary). The Middle East and then Africa are the least morally developed, where cultural bias goes hand-in-hand with state intolerance, all too often including physical violence.

Same-sex relations between men can bring up to seven years in prison19, giving official sanction to prejudice and invasion of privacy. Being suspected of being gay in Kuwait is enough to warrant forced exportation - 76 fell victim to this in 2017 alone19.

4. Kuwait Overall National and Social Development

#human_development #Kuwait

Social & Moral
Development Index
33
Pos.Higher is better
Points33
1Denmark84.0
2Sweden83.9
3Finland83.5
...
82Ukraine54.2
83Colombia53.7
84Ecuador53.5
85Kuwait53.5
86Kyrgyzstan53.4
87Jordan53.3
88Bahamas53.3
89Cuba53.0
90Morocco52.8
World Avg53.8
q=198.

The Social and Moral Development Index concentrates on moral issues and human rights, violence, public health, equality, tolerance, freedom and effectiveness in climate change mitigation and environmentalism, and on some technological issues. A country scores higher for achieving well in those areas, and for sustaining that achievement in the long term. Those countries towards the top of this index can truly said to be setting good examples and leading humankind onwards into a bright, humane, and free future. See: What is the Best Country in the World? An Index of Morality, Conscience and Good Life.

5. Freedom of Belief and Religion

#bahrain #islam #kuwait #saudi_arabia

Kuwait does not accept the concept of freedom of belief and sociologists Grim & Finke place Kuwait into the worst category for religious persecution, along with just 13 other countries20. Since 2016 anyone convicted of blasphemy against Islam cannot run for office, nor vote19, therefore routinely discriminating against people based on their beliefs.

When it comes to religious freedom and persecution, sociologists Grim & Finke place Kuwait into the worst category, along with just 13 other countries. In this category, severe restrictions on religious freedom and freedom of belief stem simultaneously from top-down pressure from government and institutionalized religion, and from bottom-up grassroots movements that often go even further than the government in harassing those who do not believe the right things (2011)34. The International Humanist and Ethical Union produced a report in 2012 entitled "Freedom of Thought" (2012)35, in which they document bias and prejudice at the national level that is based on religion, belief and/or lack of belief. Their entry for Kuwait states:

The Constitution of Kuwait makes Islam the state religion, and Sharia a primary source of legislation, making blasphemy illegal. The 1961 Press and Publications Law prohibits the publication of any material that attacks religions or incites persons to commit crimes, create hatred, or spread dissension.

Cases of Discrimination

Hamad Al-Naqi is a Shia Muslim who in February and March 2012 allegedly made a series of posts on Twitter critical of the Sunni rulers of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, the Prophet Muhammad, his wife Aisha, and his followers. Several members of the National Assembly of Kuwait called for his death. Al-Naqi pled not guilty, arguing that he had not posted the messages, and that his account had been hacked. In June 2012, Al-Naqi was found guilty of "insulting the Prophet, the Prophet's wife and companions, mocking Islam, provoking sectarian tensions, insulting the rulers of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and misusing his mobile phone to spread the comments" and sentenced to ten years in prison. Al-Naqi was attacked within weeks of entering prison and has been put in solitary confinement for safety reasons.

"Freedom of Thought" by IHEU (2012)35

Current edition: 2018 Dec 31
http://www.humantruth.info/kuwait_human_rights_and_freedom.html
Parent page: Kuwait (State of Kuwait)

All #tags used on this page - click for more:

#antisemitism #bahrain #burundi #corruption #equality #eritrea #france #freedom #gender #homosexuality #human_development #human_rights #indonesia #intolerance #islam #Kuwait #mass_media #misogyny #peace #politics #saudi_arabia #sexuality #slavery #tolerance #women #yemen

Social Media

References: (What's this?)

Book Cover

Book Cover

Anti-Defamation League. (ADL)
(2014) ADL Global 100, Executive Summary. Accessed on global100.adl.org on 2017 Jan 02. The numbers given are of those who state that racist stereotyped statements about Jews are true; they have to agree to 6 or more of the 11 statements to be counted. An example statements is "Jews are hated because of the way they behave". The data was collected from 53,100 interviews across 101 countries plus the West Bank and Gaza. The global average is 26%.

Casely-Hayford, Gus
(2012) The Lost Kingdoms of Africa. Published by Bantram Press. A hardback book.

Crabtree, Vexen
(2019) "What is the Best Country in the World? An Index of Morality, Conscience and Good Life" (2019). Accessed 2019 Jan 13.

Donnelly, Jack
(2013) Universal Human Rights in Theory and Practice. 3rd edition. Published by Cornell University Press.

The Fraser Institute
(2016) The Human Freedom Index. Published by The Cato Institute, The Fraser Institute and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom. Covers data up to 2014. On www.fraserinstitute.org/.../human-freedom-index-2016.

Grim & Finke. Dr Grim is senior researcher in religion and world affairs at the Pew Research Center, Washington, D.C, USA. Finke is Professor of Sociology and Religious Studies at the Pennsylvania State University.
(2011) The Price of Freedom Denied. Subtitled: "Religious Persecution and Conflict in the Twenty-First Century". Amazon Kindle digital edition. Published by Cambridge University Press, UK. An e-book.

Human Rights Watch
(2018) World Report 2018. Covering the events of 2017.

IHEU. International Humanist and Ethical Union.
(2012) Freedom of Thought. A copy can be found on iheu.org/...Freedom of Thought 2012.pdf, accessed 2013 Oct 28.

Klein, Naomi
(2004) No Logo. Originally published 2000, HarperCollins, London, UK. A paperback book.

McCall, Andrew
(1979) The Medieval Underworld. 2004 edition. Published by Sutton Publishing. A paperback book.

Thomson, Oliver
(1993) A History of Sin. Published by Canongate Press. A hardback book.

United Nations
(2011) Human Development Report. Published by the UN Development Programme. This edition had the theme of Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future for All. Available on hdr.undp.org/... UN Development Program: About the Human Development Index.
(2017) Human Development Report. Published by the UN Development Programme. Data for 2015. Available on hdr.undp.org/.

Walk Free Foundation
(2018) Global Slavery Index. Published on www.walkfreefoundation.org/.

Footnotes

  1. World Bank data on data.worldbank.org accessed 2013 Nov 04.^
  2. UN (2011) .^
  3. UN (2017). Table 1.^
  4. UN (2017). Gross National Income, per person. Table 1.^
  5. International Standards Organisation (ISO) standard ISO3166-1, on www.iso.org, accessed 2013 May 01.^
  6. Top level domains (TLDs) are managed by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) on www.iana.org.^
  7. According to ISO4217.^
  8. According to ITU-T.^
  9. Walk Free Foundation (2018) .^^
  10. ^^
  11. Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (2017). Accessed 2017 Dec 30. The scores given are the TI average for the years 2012-2016.^^
  12. UN (2017). Table 5. Lower is better.^^
  13. Reporters Without Borders Report "2013 World Press Freedom Index: Dashed hopes after spring" at fr.rsf.org/.../classement_2013_gb-bd.pdf accessed 2013 Feb.^^
  14. Human Rights Watch (2018). Negative and positive comments have been added to create a score for each country covered in the report.^^
  15. Fraser Institute, the (2016). Covers data for 2014.^^
  16. Max possible=24. Total amount of treaties ratified. Nominal Commitment to Human Rights report published by UCL School of Public Policy, London, UK, at ucl.ac.uk/spp/research/research-projects/nchr accessed 2011 Apr 30.^^
  17. ADL (2014). Lower is better.^^
  18. Sources:^^
  19. Human Rights Watch (2018). p324-328.^^^^^
  20. Grim & Finke (2011) .^^
  21. Thomson (1993). p28.^
  22. McCall (1979). p180.^
  23. Thomson (1993). p166.^
  24. Casely-Hayford (2012). p253.^
  25. Thomson (1993). p31.^
  26. Thomson (1993). p199.^
  27. Thomson (1993). p28-29.^
  28. Klein (2004) .^
  29. Walk Free Foundation (2018). p2.^
  30. "What is the Best Country in the World? An Index of Morality, Conscience and Good Life: 2.9. Women Stand for Election & Vote" by Vexen Crabtree (2019)^
  31. Donnelly (2013). Chapter 16 "Nondiscrimination for All: The Case of Sexual Minorities" p278.^
  32. Donnelly (2013). Chapter 16 "Nondiscrimination for All: The Case of Sexual Minorities" p289. According to a 1992 ruling of the Human Rights Committee, which declared that 'it is undisputed that adult consensual sexual activity in private is covered by the concept of privacy' when discussing Article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. See Human Rights Committee, Communication 488/1992, paragraph 8.2.^
  33. "What is the Best Country in the World? An Index of Morality, Conscience and Good Life" by Vexen Crabtree (2019)^
  34. Grim & Finke (2011). Chapter 5 "A Closer Look China, India, and Iran" digital location 3560.^
  35. IHEU (2012) .^

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