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Is Kuwait Serious About Bedoon Naturalization?

Given the history of unfulfilled promises by the Kuwait government, the Bedoon community is skeptical of the country's seriousness in granting them citizenship, Mona Kareem writes.
Kuwaiti men stand at the main entrance of the Kuwait Parliament December 10, 2009, after the parliament session on the issue of "bedoons" (stateless Kuwaiti residents) was cancelled due to the lack of quorum. Police had cordoned off the area surrounding the Parliament to prevent any possible protests from the stateless people in the city.   REUTERS/Stephanie McGehee (KUWAIT POLITICS) - RTXROPH

When the opposition dominated the parliament for few months in early 2012 before it was dissolved, the Bedoon (the Arabic word for stateless) were disappointed that their issue was not a priority. Bedoon activists are still standing with the opposition with the logic of having the government as a common enemy. Another reason to this coalition might be the common tribal background of both groups that make them feel discriminated against by the state. The community is not hoping for much from the opposition, but within the past few years, they have been able to compare the outcomes of an oppositional parliament to a puppet parliament that was elected last December, despite boycotting campaigns and the amendment of voting law.

The Bedoon have been very loud about their demands since the beginning of the Arab uprisings. They have been in the country for generations, but the government still claims that they are ‘hiding their original documents’ from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Syria. In 1986, Kuwait decided to deprive this community of all their rights; education, health care, employment, and any form of documentation. Since February 2011, Bedoon protests prompted strong political changes, pushing the opposition to adopt the cause and placing the government under the spot to face international criticism.

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