This year Kuwait is celebrating 50 years of independence. But for around 10 per cent of its population—known as “bidoon”—the anniversary also marks 50 years of statelessness.
”Bidoon” means “without” in Arabic, indicating that this group—estimated to range between 90,000 and 180,000 people—lives without nationality. Not considered as nationals by Kuwait or any other state, bidoon are stateless. While Kuwaiti nationals enjoy a large number benefits and subsidies, stateless people in this small but very wealthy country live in slum-like settlements on the outskirts of its cities, where they suffer numerous human rights violations.
This report outlines the history of the bidoon issue in Kuwait and their current situation. It discusses the relevant legal framework, with particular focus on discrimination in access to and withdrawal of nationality. It also analyzes Kuwait’s international obligations in the areas of nationality and statelessness, and offers policy recommendations.