Kuwait’s DNA testing violates right to privacy: HRW

Published July 21st, 2015 - 01:39 GMT

Human Rights Watch said Tuesday that a new counter-terrorism law in Kuwait, imposing mandatory DNA tests on citizens and foreigners alike, should be amended.

The Kuwaiti parliament endorsed the new law earlier this month after a militant attack on a Shia mosque in Kuwait left 26 worshippers dead and more than 200 others injured.

The New York-based non-governmental organization emphasized that the new law is a "massive infringement" on human rights. 

"Many measures could potentially be useful in protecting against terrorist attacks, but potential usefulness is not enough to justify a massive infringement on human rights," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at HRW.

"To serve the interests of Kuwaiti national security and comply with Kuwait's obligations under international human rights law, the bill should be amended and narrowed extensively," advised the HRW director.

This new counter-terrorism law commissions the interior ministry to collect DNA data on all of Kuwait's 1.3 million citizens and 2.9 million expats living in the country.

Heavy fines and imprisonment have been envisaged for violators of the law.

DNA gathering of this sort has been outlawed by the European Court of Human Rights, several US domestic courts and others on the grounds of privacy rights, HRW said.

DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is the hereditary blueprint in humans and almost all other organisms.

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