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Illegal residents enjoy basic human rights - Kuwait
January 31, 2015, 6:39 am

The State of Kuwait reiterated Friday that the illegal residents in the country enjoy all basic human rights and are treated in a much better way than many countries around the world do.

During the UN Human Rights Council's session on the periodical review of the situation of the human rights in Kuwait, Head of the Technical Office at the Central Agency for Remedying of the Illegal Residents' Status Eman Al-Nasser made a detailed presentation on the services and facilities offered to the illegal residents in Kuwait.

She pointed out that illegal residents receive services similar to that offered to citizens.Al-Nasser said that the government labels those people as "illegal residents" in accordance with the Central Agency's foundation decree No. 467 of 2010.

"They were labeled so because they violated foreigners' residency law No. 17 of 1959 which necessities the possession of a valid passport to get a residency permission. They have concealed their original passports on a false belief that this would qualify them to get the Kuwaiti citizenship," she said.

She noted that the Supreme Council for Planning and Development has drawn a roadmap to remedy the illegal residents' statuses and it was approved by the cabinet as per decree No. 1612 of 2010.
The roadmap aims to strike a balance between helping illegal residents live a dignified life and protecting state's higher interests, Al-Nasser said.

She stressed that illegal residents move to rectify their legal statuses in the country do not prevent them from applying to be naturalized as per the law.
The roadmap includes reviewing the files of each illegal resident and presenting lists of naturalization candidates to the cabinet to consider it, she said, noting that the central agency has presented, since its foundation, lists of 687 candidates to the cabinet.

The roadmap also envisaged encouraging illegal residents to rectify their legal statuses in return for offering them free five-year residency permission, she said, adding that 6,325 of them have rectified their statuses in the past four years.

Al-Nasser underscored that the Kuwaiti government gives due attention to the human aspects in handling this dossier. The cabinet in its resolution No. 409 of 2011 completed the services offered by the state to illegal residents to help them live a dignified life, she said.

She pointed out that the government is keen on providing education services to the children of the illegal residents, noting that 15,105 of students of this category are benefiting from this service.
Up to 5,758 people were also enrolled in the University of Kuwait and 3,347 others were enrolled at the Public Authority for Applied Education and Training, she said.

The illegal residents enjoy healthcare the services offered by the State of Kuwait. About 56,547 such persons benefited from such services at a total value of USD 13 million till the end of 2012.
Moreover, the government gives illegal resident priority after citizens in employment in public and cooperative sector.

Till March 2014, 1,419 people were appointed at the public sector and 630 persons in at the cooperative sector, she said. The illegal residents are granted ration cards to get subsidized food supplies, she said, stating that 98,384 such persons have benefited from these cards and got supplies at a total value of USD 2.3 million.

People with special needs among illegal residents are getting total care as per law No. 8 of 2010, she said. The state offers to this segment housing welfare and social insurance services.
Al-Nasser said that the Kuwaiti authorities are issuing civil and legal documents, such as birth and death certificates and marriage contracts and divorce.

Furthermore, the illegal residents enjoy the right of litigation and public freedoms and others. They also benefit from some of the services provided by other state bodies such as that of Zakat (alms) House and the General Secretariat of Awqaf, the Public Authority for Social Insurance and the Public Authority for Housing Welfare, she said, noting that those who rectify their statuses enjoy these services throughout the five-year residency granted to them.

Al-Nasser stressed that Kuwait is keen on continuing efforts to provide a better services to illegal residents in the country. She also handed the United Nations and its member states a booklet including statistics about the services and facilities provided to such segment in the society.

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