Kuwait: Kuwait: Gulf Centre for Human Rights expresses solidarity after Al-Huriah Society closed and Anwar Dashti arrested
On 28 June 2018, the Kuwait Al-Huriah (Freedom) Society was suddenly dissolved without justification, and one of its members was imprisoned the following week. The Minister of Social Affairs and Labour, Hind Sabih, who issued the decision also appointed a temporary board of directors in accordance with the Non-Profit Clubs and Association Law No. 23 of 1962. The decision did not include the reasons for issuing this decision.
Then, on 02 July 2018, blogger Anwar Dashti, a member of the Kuwait Al-Huriah Society, surrendered himself to the Central Prison Administration in order to serve a six-month prison sentence for a tweet he posted, despite the fact that he apologised for what he wrote in subsequent tweets in order to avoid any misconceptions.
The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) expresses its solidarity with the Kuwait Al-Huriah Society and strongly condemns the decision to dissolve it, as well as the sentence of six months’ imprisonment handed down against Anwar Dashti.
GCHR calls on the government in Kuwait to:
1. Immediately and without any condition overturn the decision to close the Kuwait Al-Huriah Society and allow it to work freely again;
2. Release blogger Anwar Dashti immediately and unconditionally;
3. Ensure that all non-governmental organisations are allowed to carry out their important work in a safe environment; and
4. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights organisations in Kuwait are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.
GCHR respectfully reminds you 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 (b): “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 to form, join and participate in non-governmental organizations, associations or groups” 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, threats, 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.”