Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Middle East Watch Alleges Kuwaiti Abuses

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Middle East Watch Alleges Kuwaiti Abuses

Article excerpt

In the continuing outcry over Kuwaiti human rights violations, Middle East Watch (MEW), a New York-based independent human rights monitoring organization, released its September 1991 report documenting ongoing and repeated violations of human rights by the Kuwaiti government and people.

The 64-page report, entitled "A Victory Turned Sour: Human Rights in Kuwait Since Liberation," documents the systematic abuse committed by agents of the Kuwaiti government against non-Kuwaiti residents, mostly Palestinians, Iraqi refugees, and the stateless "bedoon" ("withouts," meaning without passports from any country). The report especially notes the alleged participation of Kuwaiti government officials in the acts of arrest, torture, detentions, deportations and killings.

In the period immediately following the liberation of Kuwait, human rights abuses were exceptionally violent. Kuwaiti citizens, many of whom were said to have returned to Kuwait from safe havens in Europe, Saudi Arabia and the US, answered the violence inflicted upon their country by Iraqis with their own revengeful violence on the non-citizens of Kuwait, some of whom had been active in the resistance to the Iraqi occupation. Hundreds of Palestinians and Iraqi refugees were subject to illegal detention, neglect and abuse, lack of due process, and vigilante-style execution.

The report goes on to condemn the Kuwaiti government itself, claiming it is complicit in the violence. Although collaborators with Iraqi occupiers have been vigorously pursued by the Kuwaiti government, no Kuwaiti government official has been punished for the illegal abuses against non-citizens.

While the Kuwaiti government has issued statements claiming the rampant acts of violence and abuse were caused by individuals, MEW asserts that they were actually committed by official security forces and returning exiles working in conjunction with the army. …

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