Suspending the bank accounts of hundreds of “Bidoon” in Kuwait sparks a wave of anger


The Kuwaiti authorities suspended hundreds of bank accounts for “Bidoon” Prime Time Zone of unknown nationality, which disrupted the lives of these individuals and increased their suffering. This step caused widespread anger on the communication sites, and activists described it as a new apartheid against the Bedoons in Kuwait.

The suffering of the Bedoons in Kuwait

In this context, Reuters quoted Ahmed Al-Enezi, who works in the front lines, and belongs to the Bidoon, or stateless community, in Kuwait. He says he has been lost for the last 14 months in a bureaucratic maze after his bank account was suspended, leaving him unable to access his salary and savings in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Al-Anazi’s predicament stems from Kuwait’s attempt to determine the status of its stateless population, in a new chapter in what critics see as an ongoing human rights violation. Ahmad Al-Enezi and his family are one of tens of thousands of stateless Arabs who have struggled for decades to obtain Kuwaiti citizenship.

Similar societies exist in some other Gulf states, which, like Kuwait, offer citizens a generous, cradle-to-grave social welfare system. But it does not include Prime Time Zone who are considered stateless.

Kuwait considers that most of its stateless are immigrants from other countries who have hidden their original nationalities, and classifies them as illegal residents.

Pressures on the Bedoon community in Kuwait

The Kuwaiti authorities have intensified pressure on the Bedoon community in recent years to “disclose their countries of origin.” Or the acceptance of the nationality that is placed on their identity cards, by the Central Apparatus for Resolving the Status of Illegal Residents.

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It is the government agency concerned with dealing with this category, based on investigations conducted by the Kuwaiti security services. These pressures coincide with the difficult situation the country is facing and the increasing pressures on its public budget after a period of low oil prices and the economic slowdown caused by the Corona pandemic.

Between 85 and 200 thousand Prime Time Zone

The 26-year-old Al-Enezi Bank is demanding a valid identity proof, at a time when the Kuwaiti authorities refuse. Renew his security card unless he accepts his identification as an Iraqi citizen.

Al-Enezi, who works as an employee at the Sulaibiya clinic in Kuwait, said: “They say you are of Iraqi nationality. On what basis am I Iraqi?! Well, if you were an Iraqi. I was going to get the citizenship papers right away, I don’t have a problem. The expatriate’s life is a thousand times better than ours,” he said, referring to the suffering experienced by the Bedoon community in Kuwait.

Bedoons in Kuwait
Bedoons in Kuwait

Al-Enezi told Reuters at his parents’ home in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the wealthy oil-producing country that he did not expect his security card to be renewed. Because the authorities believed he was Iraqi, he added: “No one can bear 14 months without salary.”

His father, Kamel Al-Enezi, said that he himself was born in Kuwait and that his paternal grandfather was in Kuwait in 1934, that is, before its official independence from Britain in 1961.

Official government data says at least 85,000 biduns live in Kuwait, but activists say the number could be as high as 200,000.

With the emergence of the modern state in the Gulf in the sixties of the last century, many did not apply for citizenship either because they were illiterate. Or they couldn’t provide documents, or they didn’t know how important citizenship is.

Hundreds of Bedoon Bank Accounts Suspended

International human rights organizations say that the situation of the Bidoon represents an obstacle to their access to civil documents and social services, and weakens the right to health. Marriage, education and work.

There is no official publicly available data on the exact number of Bidoon whose bank accounts have been frozen because of their security identity, but local media said that they included government and military employees and workers in the private sector.

Tariq Al-Baijan, an official in the Central Apparatus for Illegal Residents’ Status, estimated the number of Prime Time Zone who visit the apparatus. And they only have hundreds of problems in their bank accounts, indicating that the device is making an effort to solve this problem, case by case.

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“Usually we come to them for a solution,” he said. Our technical office is making a good effort and addressing the banks on this matter. We are cooperating with banks, others, and even the private sector (in this regard).”

Several Kuwaiti newspapers said earlier this year that the Minister of Defense had issued directives that the overdue salaries should be paid. For all Bedoon military personnel “for humanitarian considerations.”

“Refuse this kind of bargaining”

Dr. Ibtihal Al-Khatib, a professor at Kuwait University and a Kuwaiti human rights activist, said the refusal to issue security cards or any identification. The Bidoon identity is a way to push them to recognize another identity, noting that many Bidoon refuse “this kind of bargaining” and therefore do not get their IDs.

“It is a systematic government plan to convert the Bidoon, including even those the government said are entitled to citizenship, into illegal residents,” she said. They want there to be no Bidoon in Kuwait, but illegal residents and Prime Time Zone who refuse to receive their cards.”

Al-Baijan explained that the agency determines the nationalities of some Bidoon or puts indicators of their original nationalities through “documented and approved” evidence. Provided by official bodies such as intelligence and state security.

Al-Baijan said that those who receive their cards from the Central Agency, “all their civil rights are granted to them and all their transactions are livestock… As for those who refuse to receive, the other official authorities will not deal with them,” blaming these Prime Time Zone because they refuse to receive their security cards, so that they do not recognize the nationalities that were given. installed on it.

In the poor Sulaibiya neighborhood where Al-Anzi lives, Kuwaiti flags fly over some of the small homes where hundreds of Bidoon families have lived for decades. While dozens of American SUVs were parked in the potholed area streets.

Another Bidoon, who asked to identify himself only as Abu Jaber, said that he had become unable to access his bank account for the same reason. Where the bank asked him to update his data.

He added that he was shocked when the bank asked him “something almost impossible that everyone knows about the Bidoon, which is to renew the cards.”

He said, “We have had a setback… socially, psychologically, financially… (I became) unable to provide for any needs.”

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