Kuwait - Overview
While human rights organisations and activists do operate in Kuwait, conditions are disimproving as the authorities use new laws and the court system - as well as alleged torture in detention - to silence critics and activists. For example, the authorities in Kuwait continue to use the country's 2015 Cyber Crimes Law to justify a crackdown on independent media, human rights defenders and activists. On the other hand, the growing popularity of social networking platforms has led to increased opportunities for human rights advocacy and opposition political activity, with government efforts to counter them increasing in parallel. According to a recent report by Human Rights Watch on the clampdown on online activists in the Gulf, Kuwaiti authorities have increasingly targeted human rights defenders, bloggers and journalists, because of their peaceful online activities. The courts are regularly used by the authorities to target activists exercising the right to peaceful assembly, with charges including "destabilising the safety and security of the country" commonly imposed. A 2016 report documented cases of human rights defenders who have been tortured and ill-treated as a result of their legitimate activities in defence of human rights.