Rights group calls for end to Kuwait’s kafala system

The Kuwait Association for the Fundamentals of Human Rights called for the current system to be abolished



A rights group in Kuwait has reportedly called for an end to the country’s kafala system, which has been criticised as a form of slavery.

Yesterday, the Kuwait Association for the Fundamentals of Human Rights called for the current kafala system to be abolished and replaced with rules according to international standards, reported AFP.

The system has attracted similar criticism to Qatar’s own labour laws that, up until the introduction of reforms this week, prevented workers from changing jobs or leaving the country without their employer’s consent.

Read: Qatar officially introduces labour reforms

The group also highlighted the deportation of thousands of foreign workers in Kuwait every year and criticised the segregation of expats and Kuwaitis at public health centres, describing the practice as discriminatory.

“The association demands that no foreigner is deported out of Kuwait without a final court order,” the group said.

Other concerns mentioned by the group included the language of hatred against foreigners in the country and the arresting of bloggers.

Many recent headlines in the country have focussed on new restrictions or measures against expats including a potential tax on expat remittances and the banning of expats from public sector roles.

Read: Kuwait considers banning expats from public sector jobs

In this year’s InterNations Expat Insider Survey the country was voted the worst in the world for expats.

Read: Kuwaiti official criticises ‘worst nation for expats’ ranking

The human rights group called for a legal solution for the around 120,000 stateless people, known as bedoons, who are denied basic rights.

Despite being born in the country, only a third of bedoons are considered for citizenship.

However, it did praise new measures designed to protect domestic helpers and guarantee them a minimum wage and legislation to setup a national human rights body.

Read: Kuwait sets minimum wage for domestic workers

Foreigners account for up to 70 per cent of Kuwait’s 4.4 million population.

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