Kuwait: Writer Mona Kareem deported from Kuwait International Airport after arriving to visit her family


The Kuwaiti authorities arbitrarily deported a writer and activist who defends the rights of the Bedoon (stateless) community, 35-year-old Dr. Mona Kareem, upon her arrival to visit her family residing in Kuwait.

On the evening of 03 January 2023, the security authorities at Kuwait International Airport forced Dr. Kareem to board a plane bound for Lebanon, and prevented her from entering the country to visit her family.

Dr. Kareem, who is a stateless citizen, left Kuwait in 2011 for a scholarship with temporary travel documents. She obtained her Ph.D. in comparative literature from the State University of New York and works as a visiting professor of translation studies at Princeton University in the United States. She was granted US citizenship during her studies there.

On the same evening of her deportation, Dr. Kareem used her Twitter account to mobilise solidarity and stop the unjust deportation. She tweeted about her mother: "My mother sends me crying messages: 'I made up your room today.' I'd like to know why they kill moms' dreams?"

In another tweet, she described her fears of the effects of this arbitrary decision to prevent her from seeing her family, writing, "I feel very sad and resist the tears. I have been deprived of my family for more than ten years. I asked for your support because it is the only solution in my hands. The idea that I will continue to be deprived of my family for the rest of my life terrifies me."

Many Kuwaitis, including human rights activists, expressed their solidarity with her and demanded an end to her deportation, using the hashtag: #Mona _ Karim

Her sister, Israa Kareem, questioned the decision in a tweet, writing, "In July 2022, she visited Kuwait for a month, and there were only some routine questions about the reason for her visit. Why is she denied entry after entering in the summer of 2022 in the first place?! It is illogical what is happening."

It’s worth mentioning that all members of her family including her parents have no right to travel abroad simply because they have no passports, due to the fact that they are Bedoon residents of Kuwait.

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) condemns the deportation of writer and academic Dr. Mona Kareem by the Kuwaiti authorities and the violation of her and her family’s civil and human rights to freedom of movement, as well as the disruption of her family’s reunion. GCHR calls on the Kuwaiti government to stop the policies of marginalisation, exclusion, discrimination and targeting of stateless citizens in Kuwait and to grant them full rights to citizenship, including the Kuwaiti nationality document and all the ensuing rights, and compensate them for all the harsh years of loss that they experienced.