National Assembly

By B Izzak

KUWAIT: The Assembly's human rights panel yesterday discussed with the interior minister a number of issues including visa trading, prisoners and the living conditions of workers in isolated areas. Head of the panel MP Adel Al-Damkhi said the committee discussed the situation of expatriate workers living in locked down areas (Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh, Mahboula and Farwaniya) and the number of workers living in one room in a bid to safeguard their basic rights.

Damkhi said the committee also discussed the civil and social rights of stateless people (bedoons) and visits to jails, adding that a total of 2,200 prisoners will be pardoned and around 1,000 others will have their jail terms reduced. Dankhi said the committee demanded that the government release certificates to bedoon graduates to be able to seek jobs.

MP Yousef Al-Fadhalah called yesterday on the health ministry to allow the private sector to carry out coronavirus tests which are currently limited to the government sector. His call comes after it has become increasingly difficult for people to take the tests at public clinics and hospitals.

Meanwhile, National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem said yesterday the National Assembly will not hold its session this week because the results of the coronavirus tests of MPs have not yet been sent by the health ministry. Ghanem said that 38 MPs have been tested and a few others should take the test. As a result, the Assembly office decided not to hold this week's sessions, which could be held next week depending on the results.

Two weeks ago, the ministry of health informed Ghanem that an MP who attended the session was suspected of being infected with the coronavirus. All MPs who attended the session were tested for the virus. Later, the lawmaker under suspicion, Hamdan Al-Azemi, said he tested negative for the disease after he took the tests twice, but the health ministry decided to test all other members as a precaution. Ghanem said the Assembly office will meet later this week to decide a new date for the sessions.