Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Hind Al-Sabeeh reaffirmed here on Thursday Kuwait's commitment to protecting, promoting and safeguarding human rights at national, regional and international levels.
"Being aware of the size of responsibility shouldered by the State, we reiterate Kuwait's commitment to exerting fervent efforts to further promote human rights in line with our national plans and goals as well as our Arab and Islamic history amid a world order that is marked by amity and peace," the minister addressed the 21st session of the Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review Working Group.
She said recommendations enshrined in the first report on Kuwait's human rights situations have contributed to making progress in this field, especially in view of laws, legislations, policies and plans adopted by the State with a view to safeguarding and promoting human rights in the country.
In spite of negative changes, and political and security turmoil in the region, Kuwait has managed to push forward the human rights protection, she added.
In this context, the State of Kuwait has created a standing working team entrusted with compiling reports on human rights situations in the country.
It has also adopted a draft law authorizing a national independent agency to promote and safeguard human rights in Kuwait as per the Paris Principles, the minister added.
The Paris Principles are a set of international standards which frame and guide the work of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) mark this year their 20th Anniversary. Drafted at an international NHRIs workshop in Paris in 1991, they were adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993.
The minister also pointed to several pieces of legislation bearing on the rights of children, families and juveniles, in addition to a set of steps targeting women's empowerment and gender equality, especially in view of work, wages and housing.
Regarding expatriates' human rights, Al-Sabeeh, who is also Minister of State for Planning and Development, said the fact that the number of expatriates in Kuwait is estimated at two thirds of the country's population shows that the oil-rich Gulf country provides a safe and attractive atmosphere for foreign workers.
More legal rights and guarantees are provided by Law No. 6/2010 for expatriates coming from more than 164 nationalities, she elaborated.
A public manpower authority was established under Law No. 109/2013, taking it upon itself to bring in foreign workers with a view to fending off possible disputes or problems with employers, the minister pointed out.
Furthermore, a standing facility was set up in order to provide health, social, psychological and recreational services to incoming workers who may have disputes with employers, she said, adding that the facility received more than 2,800 workers.
Kuwait is eager to keep up with swift advancement in international human rights laws and concepts by means of promoting and disseminating the culture of human rights through a scientific and media approach, she said.
This approach mainly involved, inter alia, legislative amendments allowing people to go directly to the constitutional court to challenge constitutionality of laws, the minister noted.
In the educational field, the minister said human rights are taught in university and pre-university stages in a distinctive manner as part of Arab human right promotion blueprints for 2009-2014 and 2010-2015.
Judges and law-enforcers are given training courses both at home and abroad in the field of human rights in cooperation with relevant international organizations, the minister elaborated.
The review of Kuwait's human rights records is part of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), which is a unique process that involves a review of the human rights records of all UN Member States. The UPR is a State-driven process, under the auspices of the Human Rights Council, which provides the opportunity for each State to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to fulfil their human rights obligations.
As one of the main features of the Council, the UPR is designed to ensure equal treatment for every country when their human rights situations are assessed.