On Monday, February 20, 2012, Mona Kareem, a Kuwaiti bedoon and contributing blogger at Muftah, launched a new site to document the human rights issues facing Kuwait’s bedoon community. A description of the network appears below. Congratulations to Mona on the launch of this new and much needed project.
Bedoon Rights is a network founded by Kuwaiti-stateless advocate Mona Kareem putting together contributions by a number of stateless volunteers mostly based in Kuwait. The network is the only online reference in English devoted for the case of statelessness in Kuwait providing relevant official documents translated, reports made by international organizations, daily reporting, videos, photos, and offering help to journalists, correspondents, and bloggers interested in spotting the light on the stateless struggle in Kuwait by offering information, on-ground guidance, and setting up relevant interviews.
There are at least 120,000 Bidun jinsiyya (without nationality) in Kuwait today suffering from the lack of human rights. They cannot legally obtain birth, death, marriage or divorce certificates. The same applies to driving licenses, identification cards, and passports. They do not have access to public education, health care, housing or employment. And while they face some of the state’s harshest discrimination policies, they have no recourse to the law and its courts. Simply stated, the Bidun, who are equal to about 10% of the Kuwaiti population, do not exist. They have been dehumanized and rendered invisible by government policies coupled with pervasive social stigmatization.
The stateless of Kuwait have always been an underrepresented minority in Kuwait. Local mainstream media has shamelessly misrepresented them to serve the government’s interests. This network comes as a necessity due to the lack of references in English about our cause and struggle. Stateless activists and protesters in the past few years have been harassed, arrested, mistreated, and put to trials for speaking up. The network makes sure newsletters are sent regularly to organizations and media to inform them of the situation and violations of Bedoon human rights.