Authorities in Kuwait continue their series of violations against the Bedoon community -stateless citizens- which include deprive them of their basic civil and human rights and in particular the rights to peaceful assembly. On 30 August 2012, after the evening prayer, a peaceful demonstration began in Taima area entitled “A Protest for the Martyr” demanding the return to the country of 14 members of the family of martyr Humood Baanon Al-Enizi, a Bedoon citizen who lost his life in defense of the land of Kuwait during the invasion by the former dictator Saddam Hussein. During the invasion the 14 family members fled to Jordan as refugees and have not been allowed back to Kuwait since then. Despite the ongoing protests by the Bedoon citizens, the authorities in Kuwait have not agreed to give them permission to get back to their homeland in Kuwait.

The state security police arrested four human rights defenders before the start of the demonstration. They are human rights defenders, Abdullah Attallah, Fahad Humood, and the two brothers, Ahmed and Yousef Al-Aythy.

Reliable reports confirmed that the state security apparatus is targeting Bedoon activists by names and pictures before the start of any peaceful protest. The four activists are detained arbitrarily in the criminal investigation department, and not been accused of any specific crime.

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights believes that these arrests are a continuation of the trend of targeting Bedoon community by the government of Kuwait. The Kuwait government should comply with the human rights treaties and stop immediately its repressive procedures against the Bedoon community and all human rights defenders.”

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) urges the authorities in Kuwait to:

1. Immediately and unconditionally release the four human rights defenders Abdullah Attallah,  Fahad Humood, and the two brothers, Ahmed and Yousef Al-Aythy as GCHR believes that they have been detained solely as a result of their legitimate human rights work on behalf of the Bedoon in Kuwait;

2. Take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of the aforementioned activist while they remain in detention;

4. Ensure in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Kuwait are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment;

The GCHR respectfully reminds the authorities in Kuwait that the United Nations Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, adopted by consensus by the UN General Assembly on 9 December 1998, recognizes the legitimacy of the activities of human rights defenders, their right to freedom of association and to carry out their activities without fear of reprisals.

We would particularly draw your attention to Article 5 (a): “For the purpose of promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms, everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, at the national and international levels: (a) To meet or assemble peacefully”, Article 6 (c): “Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others: (c) To study, discuss, form and hold opinions on the observance, both in law and in practice, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and, through these and other appropriate means, to draw public attention to those matters“  and to Article 12 (2): “The State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threat, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration.

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights is an independent centre and has been registered in Ireland. The Centre works to strengthen support for human rights defenders and independent journalists in Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.