Kuwaiti Government Seeks to Exclude LGBT Individuals
Freedom House strongly condemns a proposal by Kuwait’s government, which if passed, would bar lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals from entering the country. This proposal represents another troubling means of discriminating against and persecution of the LGBT community in the Gulf region.
Yousuf Mindkar, the Director of Public Health at the Kuwaiti Health Ministry, announced a proposal, which would require the government to “take stricter measures that will help detect gays.” If his proposal is approved, routine medical screenings of expatriates who enter Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC) would include tests that could supposedly identify homosexuals, “who will then be barred from entering Kuwait or any of the GCC member states.”
"Homosexual acts" are illegal in the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, and punishments range from imprisonment to death. Crackdowns on LGBT persons are common in these countries. In the past two years, dozens have been arrested in Saudi Arabia after being accused of ‘homosexual acts,’ and in 2012, the country imposed a ban on gay students, preventing them from attending public schools and universities.
Furthermore, homosexuality screening tests are medically unsound and based on discriminatory assumptions, thus the proposed screenings would give the government the power to arbitrarily bar unwelcome visitors, including political activists, from entering Kuwait and other GCC countries.
Freedom House calls upon Kuwait and the other GCC countries to abandon this proposal and end its discriminatory policies against the LGBT community.
Freedom in the World 2013: Kuwait
Freedom of the Press 2013: Kuwait
Blog: Freedom at Issue