Kuwaiti government curbs police expat deportation powers

Published:  4 Apr at 6 PM
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Tagged: USA
The new laws enacted last year giving Kuwaiti police the power to deport expats for traffic offences are to be curbed by order of the government.

Following Kuwaiti Labour Minister Thekra al Rasheed’s controversial announcement last spring that 10,000 expats were to be deported annually for 10 years, deportation by senior police officers of foreigners breaching minor traffic laws has soared. In addition, the offence of driving in the emirate without the almost impossible-to- obtain driving license has been used as an excuse for deportation.

According to the Kuwait Society for Human Rights (KSHR), new rules published yesterday and effective immediately mean that police are no longer allowed to deport foreigners without a court order. Although this will come as no comfort to the thousands already thrown out of the emirate for minor traffic offences, the move constitutes a step in the right direction for the protection of the rights of expats.

At present, some 2.7 million expats are living and working in the emirate, making up to 69 per cent of the total population. However, for some activists calling for an end to all non-court ordered deportations, the new law stops short of solving the problem.

In future, all deportation orders will need to be ordered by the courts and countersigned by the undersecretary of the Ministry of the Interior. According to head of the KHSR Khaled a Ajmi, the security of immigrants working in Kuwait will be considerably improved by the removal of the threat of deportation.

He added the old rules were repressive and violated international human rights treaties to which the Kuwaiti government had agreed. As yet, no comment has been given by the Labour Minister considered to be responsible for the deportations.
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