KUWAIT: Kuwait's recent decision to regulate travel and make it restricted for those who have received two jabs of the COVID-19 vaccine has faced a lot of criticism because it is limited to citizens and ignores expatriates who have complied with health protocols and received the vaccines like others.
Jurists and legal professionals said ignoring expat residents in Kuwait and depriving them of their right to freedom of movement despite receiving the vaccine constitutes a major insult to "Humanitarian Kuwait", which promulgated its constitution more than half a century ago based on equality and guaranteed freedom of travel for all those living in Kuwait, not differentiating between citizens and expats.
President of Kuwait Association for Basic Essentials of Human Rights Dr Yousuf Al-Saqer said in statements published by Al-Qabas Arabic daily yesterday that there is supposed to be equality between all with regards to decisions related to travel for those who have received the vaccine, because they adhered to the protocols laid down by the health ministry, and this is a matter that should not involve any discrimination.
Meanwhile, member of Kuwait Society for Human Rights Hussein Al-Otaibi said there is suspicion of inequality under the current circumstances, because freedom of travel is guaranteed to citizens and expats in the constitution, while the latest decisions ignore expats' right to travel, which is something devoid of fairness.
Lawyer Dr Fawaz Al-Khateeb said the decision by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation to allow citizens to travel and return without including expats, who will not be able to return even if they have valid residency permits, reflects differential negative treatment and may violate the simplest of constitutional principles pertaining to equality and nondiscrimination. Kuwait had banned expats from entering the country since February 2021 until further notice as part of restrictions placed at the time to curb a rise in COVID-19 cases in the country.
Suicide rate on the rise
Separately, the same newspaper reported yesterday that the suicide rate in Kuwait has jumped lately, as security sources revealed that around 75 cases were recorded during five months from the start of 2021 until Friday, May 28, compared to 90 cases in the whole of 2020.
Sources said the suicide rate during the first five months of 2021 rose by 50 percent compared to the same period in 2020, adding suicides began to rise since the spread of the coronavirus, which could indicate that there is a link between the pandemic and its psychological and economic effects, and the rise in suicide cases, especially among the Asian community.
The sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the majority of suicides are committed by Asians, adding there were nine failed suicide attempts "and the perpetrators were charged accordingly." Police sources said there were three suicide cases in the past four days before the report was published yesterday.
The first was by an Indian expat who worked as a driver in Saad Al-Abdullah, who hanged himself from the ceiling of his room. The second case was of a laborer, also Indian, who hanged himself from a tree in Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh. The third case was of a Bangladeshi who worked at a ranch in the camel-grazing area. He was found hanging from the ceiling of a sheep shed.