Kuwaiti Women Mark First Anniversary of Rights Decree
Kuwaiti women lit candles and old lamps to mark the first anniversary Tuesday of a decree by the emir that granted them full political rights, which was later rejected by the conservative-dominated parliament.
"This is to show the world we're here and our cause is still alive," Hind al-Bahar, a woman activist, declared before a small group of men and women who gathered to mark the occasion.
The decree, issued by Emir Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah while parliament was dissolved, was rejected by the new legislature in November for having violated the constitution in the way it was published.
A substitute bill to grant women the right to vote and stand for office in parliamentary elections from 2003 as proposed by the emir was narrowly defeated in the same month.
A group of women activists also visited the emir and crown prince, Sheikh Saad al-Abdullah al-Sabah, on the anniversary and were given assurances the government would back their rights.
"The crown prince (and prime minister) assured us of total government backing when a new bill is resubmitted next October," Nabila al-Anjari, a woman activist and member of the group, told AFP.
"We now feel more optimistic of a better future for women as we have gained more supporters. We are more confident the bill will pass parliament later this year," she said.
A Kuwaiti court is to rule on May 29 on a case filed by women activists against the interior ministry after ministry officials turned them away from registration centres opened in February to update the voter lists – Kuwait (AFP)
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