Kuwait Plans to Limit Nationality to 600 ‘Bidoons’
The Kuwaiti government plans to limit the granting of nationality to 600 stateless Arabs and their families, rather than the original number of 1,000, a newspaper reported on Wednesday.
Al-Qabas said a bill setting the limit at 600 would be submitted to parliament.
In October, the cabinet announced that it had agreed provisionally to grant citizenship to 1,000 of the stateless Arabs, known as the "bidoon", meaning 'without' in Arabic.
More than 100,000 bidoon live in the oil-rich Gulf emirate.
Kuwait's parliament in May approved a proposal to grant citizenship each year to 2,000 adults and their families, a total of around 10,000 people with spouses and children.
Under the proposal, some 36,700 of the 102,000 bidoon in Kuwait would qualify to apply for citizenship, but only those who pass a long process of tests can be granted nationality.
These include "national loyalty, no security restrictions, permanent residence in Kuwait and the degree of kinship to Kuwaitis."
Some bidoon are from families based in Kuwait without official status for several generations, while others are mostly Arab economic migrants attracted by the oil boom of the 1950s.
Kuwaiti authorities began legal action in July against some 50,000 bidoons who did not qualify for citizenship and refused to legalize their status by declaring another nationality.
Before the Iraqi occupation of August 1990 to February 1991, the number of bidoon in Kuwait was estimated at 225,000. But tens of thousands of them accused of collaborating fled or were driven out of the emirate -- KUWAIT CITY (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)