KUWAIT: The Kuwait Martyrs Office. - KUNA

KUWAIT: The Kuwait Martyrs Office is an exceptional regional and international bureau supporting, for life, the welfare of over 14,000 individuals. The office was originally established in June 1991 for the families of people martyred during the Iraqi invasion, which began on August 2, 1990 with Kuwaitis and 15 other nationalities benefiting from its services.

Acting Director General of the office Salah Al-Awfan said yesterday that the Iraqi invasion, though causing many misfortunes and regional schisms, had also resulted in instances of bravery and heroism in which Kuwaitis and fellow residents laid their lives in protection of the land they loved dearly.

The office - founded 30 years ago by the late Amir Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah - was first dedicated to those martyred in the Iraqi invasion; however, now it includes all those laying their lives for Kuwait since independence in 1961. In the era of late Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Amiri decree 325/2011 was signed making the office fall under the jurisdiction of the minister of Amiri diwan affairs.

The board of trustees, which shapes the policies and strategies of the office, includes 10 members: A director general, four members of the defense and security establishments, a member from the Public Authority for Minors Affairs, a member from the Ministry of Social Affairs, and three members of martyrs' relatives or people chosen by the director.

In regards to the categories of those considered as martyrs, Awfan indicated that it includes those sacrificing their lives during military campaigns for Kuwait, individuals dying during the line of duty, and deaths occurring during natural disasters or terror attacks such as the victims of the Al-Sadeq Mosque bombing in 2015.

Awfan revealed that the current number of martyrs registered by the office was at 1,301 people, including 1,056 Kuwaitis and 245 other residents. The official added that the martyrs' office had cooperated with other state entities to provide services for the family members and children of the martyrs in recognition of their sacrifice to Kuwait.

Remembering Kuwait's martyrs is of highest importance for their family members as well as their country; therefore, their names and portraits could be seen in schools throughout Kuwait in addition to public streets, buildings belonging to state entities and diplomatic missions abroad, affirmed Al-Awfan who indicated that several protocols were signed in this regard.

On the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the office's operations, Awfan pointed out that restriction imposed to counter the virus spread did not deter the office from its duties, indicating that the office had continued to provide services online via its website without disruption. Awfan took the chance to thank the Kuwaiti leadership for its 30 years of supporting the work of the office and also expressed gratitude to the board of trustees and employees of the Kuwait Martyrs office. - KUNA