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Kuwait Issues - 2024


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Disputes - international

Kuwait-Iraq: no maritime boundary exists with Iraq in the Persian Gulf; Kuwait has called on Iraq to resolve the domestic legal status of the 2012 Kuwait-Iraq Agreement to regulate maritime navigation in Khor Abdullah and ensure that the agreement remains in force  

Kuwait-Saudi Arabia: their maritime boundary was established in 2000 and has a neutral zone but its extension to Iran’s maritime boundary has not been negotiated

Refugees and internally displaced persons

stateless persons: 92,000 (2022); note - Kuwait's 1959 Nationality Law defined citizens as persons who settled in the country before 1920 and who had maintained normal residence since then; one-third of the population, descendants of Bedouin tribes, missed the window of opportunity to register for nationality rights after Kuwait became independent in 1961 and were classified as bidun (meaning "without"); since the 1980s Kuwait's bidun have progressively lost their rights, including opportunities for employment and education, amid official claims that they are nationals of other countries who have destroyed their identification documents in hopes of gaining Kuwaiti citizenship; Kuwaiti authorities have delayed processing citizenship applications and labeled biduns as "illegal residents," denying them access to civil documentation, such as birth and marriage certificates

Trafficking in persons

tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List — Kuwait does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so; officials assisted more vulnerable migrant workers at the government shelter, launched an online platform for domestic workers to file grievances, and continued to hold fraudulent recruitment agencies accountable; however, the government did not demonstrate overall increasing efforts, compared to the previous year, to expand its anti-trafficking capacity; there were fewer investigations of alleged trafficking crimes and no prosecutions or convictions of traffickers; fewer victims were identified, and some officials continued to use arbitration and administrative penalties instead of investigating cases as potential human trafficking crimes; Kuwait did not implement procedures to identify and prevent trafficking, nor regularly use standard operating procedures to identify and refer victims to services; officials continued to detain, prosecute, and deport potential trafficking victims, including those fleeing forced labor or in commercial sex, without screening for trafficking indicators; the government did not take any new steps to reform its visa sponsorship system, leaving migrant workers highly vulnerable to exploitation and trafficking; therefore, Kuwait remained on Tier 2 Watch List for the second consecutive year (2023)

trafficking profile: human traffickers exploit foreign victims in Kuwait; men and women migrate primarily from Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and other countries in South and Southeast Asia and the Middle East to work predominantly in the service, sanitation, construction, transportation, security, hospitality, and domestic service sectors, and, most recently, nurses working for medical supply companies; unskilled laborers and female domestic workers are especially vulnerable to forced labor and physical and sexual abuse; undocumented Bidoon (stateless residents of Arab heritage) face challenges gaining lawful employment and remain vulnerable to trafficking; many labor-source countries, including Bhutan, Burundi, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Indonesia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, and Zimbabwe continue to restrict their female nationals from domestic employment in Kuwait due to the high risk they face; some visa sponsors subject migrants to forced labor and, to a much lesser extent, sex trafficking; some officials allegedly take bribes or sell work permits to illegal recruiting companies or directly to migrants; Cuban nationals working in Kuwait may have been forced to work by the Cuban government; Kuwait’s sponsorship law restricts workers’ movements and penalizes them for leaving abusive workplaces; domestic workers are particularly vulnerable to forced labor inside private homes; reports indicate some workers fleeing abusive employers are exploited in sex trafficking by recruiters or criminals (2023)

NOTE: The information regarding Kuwait on this page is re-published from the 2024 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Kuwait 2024 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Kuwait 2024 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 04 May 24, Copyright © 2024 ITA all rights reserved.