Stateless Arabs Harassed In Kuwait

A human rights group accused the Kuwaiti government Saturday of harassing stateless Arabs - one third of the emirate’s population - as it seeks to expel them.

Human Rights Watch, based in New York, charged that Kuwait’s treatment of the stateless Arabs - known as “bidoun,” which is Arabic for “without” - “amounts to a policy of apartheid.”

It said that up to 160,000 bidoun, who wandered south from Syria decades ago, fled to Iraq after Saddam Hussein’s forces invaded Kuwait in 1990. They are now stranded there without passports because Kuwait will not allow them back.

Since Kuwait was liberated in 1991, it has expelled another 24,000. The 150,000 bidouns still in Kuwait are harassed and intimidated, “denied the right to lawful residence, employment, travel and movement” in violation of international law, Human Rights Watch said.

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