KUWAIT CITY (Middle East Eye) – Kuwaiti lawmakers have issued a draft law supporting basic human rights for members of the country’s Bidoon minority after a 60-year-old man from the community attempted suicide through self-immolation.
The man, whose name remains unconfirmed, reportedly poured petrol on his body and set himself on fire for unclear reasons. He was taken to hospital to treat deep burns and remains in a critical condition.
Following the incident, five Kuwaiti MPs submitted a draft law demanding basic rights for the country’s Bidoon community.
Bidoon are regarded as foreign nationals or illegal immigrants in Kuwait, their name literally meaning “without,” implying that they are stateless or without nationality. The Kuwait state claims most of them moved to Kuwait from neighboring countries and hid their nationalities to claim Kuwaiti citizenship.
MP Shuaib al-Muwaiziri blamed authorities for causing the Bidoon crisis, saying that the government should either prove that some Bidoons are citizens of foreign countries or grant them Kuwaiti citizenship, according to Kuwait Times.
Bidoon are also banned from obtaining birth and death certificates. Furthermore, they are denied identification documents, drastically reducing their access to job opportunities and social services while preventing them from traveling abroad.
Bidoon are also not allowed to be educated in Kuwaiti schools or universities.
Online, social media users expressed concern about the incident, noting that this is not the first time a Bidoon has attempted suicide.
The incident comes days after a 12-year-old Bidoon flower seller died after he was run over by a car while working in Kuwait City.
Jarrah Ayed al-Shammari was reportedly rushed to the hospital but was declared dead upon arrival.
Suicide attempts within the Bidoon community have been on the rise recently as a form of protest against their treatment by authorities.