Kuwait: Human rights lawyer Abeer Al-Haddad faces threats due to her ongoing defense of Bedoon rights

20.08.18

According to reports received by the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR), human rights lawyer Abeer Al-Haddad has received a large number of threats due to a recent tweet she published, in addition to her ongoing defense of the civil and human rights of the Bedoon community in Kuwait.

On 13 August 2018, Al-Haddad published a tweet on her Twitter account stating: "After the end of his term in the Central Apparatus for Illegal Residents’ Affairs, Saleh Al-Fadala is working illegally and I declare my intention to sue him as the attorney for thousands of people affected from among the Bedoon."

The Central Apparatus for Illegal Residents’ Affairs was established under decree No. 467 issued in 2010. Al-Fadala was appointed as the head of this government body with the rank of Minister by Decree No. 468 issued in 2010. The period of work of the Apparatus was determined to be a period of five years but no extension was mentioned in either decree; however, it was extended twice, in 2015 for two years, and in 2017 for a period of three years, and no decree was issued referring to the extension of the work of the head of the Apparatus.

The Central Apparatus for Illegal Residents’ Affairs has failed despite its work since 2010 to reform the situation of the Bedoon community in Kuwait and protect their civil and human rights. Some observers say that this institution has complicated the daily life of Kuwait's Bedoon citizens.

This prompted Al-Haddad as a lawyer and legal attorney to a large number of Bedoon citizens to declare her intention to sue the head of the Apparatus not only due to the fact he was working without legal status or official extension, but also because she accused him of neglecting both his duties and job functions. In addition, he reportedly failed to achieve the humanitarian objectives for which the Apparatus was established.

This legal stand has led to a large number of threats from the supporters of the head of the Apparatus demanding that Al-Haddad stop the legal case against him, while at the same time defaming her using some false accounts. They accused her of looking for fame even though she has been working on issues pertaining to the Bedoon community for seven years. Also, threats have been directed against Al-Haddad questioning her patriotism and accusing her of insulting the reputation of the country. GCHR believes that this pressure is designed to get her to stop her work.

GCHR declares its full solidarity with Abeer Al-Haddad, a human rights lawyer and prominent advocate of Bedoon rights in Kuwait, and calls upon the concerned authorities to protect her from any harassment due to the human rights work she is doing. GCHR also calls upon the Kuwaiti government to expedite the resolution of the problems of the Bedoon community and immediately grant them civil and human rights as full citizens of Kuwait without discrimination.