HRD Abdulhakim Al-Fadhli released after being imprisoned for peaceful protest
The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) reported that on 1st August 2017, human rights defender Abdulhakim Al-Fadhli was released from prison in Kuwait. Al-Fadhli had been sentenced for his participation in a peaceful protest in defense of the rights of the Bedoon community. According to the GCHR, reports confirmed that upon his release, Al-Fadhli had signed a declaration that he would not participate in any future protests.
Al-Fadhli is a prominent defender of the Bedoon community whose rights have been blatantly disregarded by the Kuwaiti authorities, according to a GCHR report to the UN Committee on the Elimination on Racial Discrimination (CERD) on 28th July 2017. In the report, GCHR declared:
“Bedoon face daily discrimination in clear contravention of international human rights conventions including CERD and the UN Convention Against Torture and Other, Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT) and those who speak out for the rights of the Bedoon are met with intimidation, judicial harassment and ill-treatment at the hands of the authorities”.
Concerns over the targeting of peaceful protesters who defend the rights of the Bedoon community were also highlighted by the Kuwait Society for Human Rights (KSHR) in its submission to the CERD, which declared that:
“Bedoon demonstrations were suppressed and a number of demonstrators were arrested on charges of participating in unlicensed demonstrations and attacking security forces”.
KSHR urged the Kuwaiti authorities to “take all necessary measures to ensure the right of peaceful gatherings for all without discrimination”.
In its submission to the CERD, the KSHR also urged the Kuwaiti authorities to amend Law No. 24/1962 to allow for the establishment of “civil society institutions for every person and entity, including women, youth, persons with disabilities, vulnerable groups, non-Kuwaitis and human rights activists”. KSHR asserts that the law is discriminatory, as it “grants the right to establish civil society institutions, but it gives such rights only to Kuwaiti citizens not migrant workers or Bedoons”.