Wednesday, August 24, 2016

"Kuwait’s new DNA collection law is scarier than we ever imagined"

[Government officials were quoted] saying the government will use the DNA database “to aid in the verification of Kuwaiti citizens,” while another official said the data will help “arrest forgers and others who falsely claim their lineage.” Senior officials at the Ministry of the Interior told the newspaper Al-Shahed last week that they expect 200,000 people to refuse DNA testing, fearing that their true bloodlines will be exposed.


Kuwaiti citizenship is restricted to families that have been there since 1920, and is passed down through fathers’ bloodlines, with few exceptions. Out of a population of about 3.3 million, just over a third are citizens. Being an oil-rich country, Kuwaiti citizenship comes with a long list of benefits, including free education through college, free healthcare, grocery subsidies, unemployment benefits, and monthly government checks per child.

Also living in Kuwait, though, is a significant Bidoon minority–descendants of nomadic Arab tribes that for some reason or another didn’t apply for, or didn’t qualify for Kuwaiti citizenship after independence from Britain in 1961.