Kuwait’s announcement that tens of thousands of stateless people will be offered citizenship of the impoverished African nation of Comoros has highlighted their decades-old plight. But a representative of the community whose members demand Kuwaiti citizenship rejected the Gulf Arab state’s offer as ‘totally impractical’.
The stateless people known as Bedouns insist they were born and raised in Kuwait and thus have full rights to claim citizenship. Kuwait says a majority of the Bedouns belong to other countries and that only 34000 of them qualify for consideration of citizenship after meeting a set of stringent conditions.
The country insists it has documented evidence to prove its claims saying the Bedouns are mainly from neighbouring Iraq and Saudi Arabia as well as a few thousand from Iran Jordan and Syria. The Bedouns numbered 106000 in 2011 according a Human Rights Watch report based on Kuwaiti government statistics. The figures show that while 34000 Bedouns qualify for consideration of citizenship 42000 are Iraqis 26000 are of other nationalities mainly Saudi and the status of 4000 is unknown.