Grant nationality to the children of Kuwaiti mothers!

Grant nationality to the children of Kuwaiti mothers!

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Al Bert started this petition to The Amir of Kuwait Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah

There have been several petitions to grant Kuwaiti women the right to pass on nationality to their children, regardless of the nationality or status of their spouses. However, such movements do not seem to go past the discussion phase. They tend to crop up occasionally, particularly preceding the parliamentary elections, without any positive results in the matter. Hence, currently for a Kuwaiti mother to be able to pass on her nationality to her children, her husband must have divorced her, passed away or become a prisoner of war. In other words, the father must be unknown to the children. As one can imagine, this has inadvertently led to immense corruption regarding citizenship, further compounded by the issues of the 'stateless' in Kuwait.

The UAE seems to be the only GCC nation that values its citizenry enough to look after them socially and psychologically. Even they amended their patriarchal law only in recent years. However, when it was finally announced, it provided relief to thousands of people for whom the UAE was the only place they had ever known as 'home'. Until then, they were always deemed outsiders and lacked any basic rights such as owning property.

In Kuwait, this phenomenon has come to be known as the Gray Area, where children of Kuwaiti mothers are neither considered foreigners nor deemed to be Kuwaiti nationals. This has the tendency to alienate these children from the rest of their local counterparts and to create psychosocial issues of identity for them. Families are broken apart for these reasons.

Why should a son and a daughter of the same Kuwaiti family be provided different rights by the State of Kuwait when each of them marries a foreigner, simply due to the gender with which they have been blessed? Their children would find difficulty identifying with their own cousins, let alone with the rest of society.

Such gender inequality must be stopped for the advancement of Kuwait and its prosperity. Kuwait claims to be the most humanitarian country. However, its GCC neighbors like the UAE have proven to be more humanitarian than them in this regard.

As it stands, Kuwait is perched in a precarious position where other countries might take notice of and issue with its patriarchal mindset of tribalism when it comes to granting nationality. Countries like the USA and the UK may decide to ban Kuwaitis from acquiring their respective nationalities until the issue of women's rights in Kuwait is resolved.

The statistics of Kuwaiti mothers is known to the government and such families number in the mere tens of thousands. Contradictory to the propaganda of opponents of women's rights in the country, this would not burden the state negatively. Instead, this would lead to a more integrated society and more entrepreneurship, especially due to the multicultural backgrounds of such families. For a country with the highest exchange rate in the world for its currency, it is high time that it stepped up and took responsibility for its actions or lack thereof.

Unfortunately, the youth of the country still seem to be inheriting the prevalent flawed mindset and are being brainwashed into a false sense of pride in their national identity which is merely an excuse for xenophobia. What they fail to realize is the extent to which their sisters suffer. This was also evident in the recent elections which, for example, saw an all-male parliamentary women's committee being voted in.

There is also an ignorant culture in Kuwait whereby local media make it a point to refer to a national as 'citizen' and to a foreigner as 'expatriate', always distinguishing between the two and never using the common collective noun of 'people'. For example, 'all people in Kuwait' would be replaced by 'all citizens and expats in Kuwait'. Hence there is always an appearance of inequality and an air of elitism.

This petition is for the Kuwaiti mothers of foreign children. These women deserve to pass on their nationality to their children. These are the same rights granted to their brothers.

Seeing as how motions such as this one have languished for ages, this petition requests the Emir of Kuwait to grant relief to the multitudes of such Kuwaiti women. They assumed that marrying a foreigner was an act that was well within their rights without having to sacrifice their dignity. They assumed that they enjoyed the same rights as their male counterparts. The time to rectify this is now. The consequences for not doing so are extremely negative to Kuwaiti society. We pray the new Emir will act and act soon.

As the son of Indo-Kuwaiti parents with Somali ancestors, it is my hope that my siblings and people like us will be accepted by the government of Kuwait just as my uncle and his family were. We pray to God that the Emir grants us this humble request.

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