Kuwait Marks 45th Anniversary as UN Member by Trying to Deport Bangladeshi Workers and by Harassing only Ex-Pats going on Holiday
By Kevin Stoda
Two weeks ago, on May 1, the International Day of Labor, Bangladeshi laborers who had not been paid in many months held a second strike for non-payment of salaries and for the fact that their employer had allowed their Kuwaiti visa to expire without renewal. This means that without wanting to be so, hundreds are currently illegal in Kuwait.
Many local news agencies noted the plight of these laborers. I also published the story of their two strikes in an Op-Ed News article.
Less than two weeks later and coinciding with the 45th Anniversary of Kuwaits entry into the United Nations, several Kuwaiti ministry personnel working in cahoots with the illegally operating Kuwaiti-owned firms (who hired the aforementioned Bangladeshi cleaning personnel and not paid them), have decided to export these same workers-who had only struck after over 8 months of not receiving pay.
CONTRADICTIONS & BAD GOVERNANCE
Kuwait's official news agency, KUNA, noted that this week is the 45th Anniversary of Kuwait becoming the 111th member of the United Nations. At the end of the government announcement KUNA stated, "Kuwait will always implement the resolutions of the UN and be an affective state working for international peace and security."
Strangely, Kuwait is breaking several humans rights rules this week in celebration of this 45th Anniversary event. The first case is the one of deporting-without pay-i.e. striking workers who had previously been cleaning Kuwait public schools for past months for free.
It was employees at the state Kuwait's Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor who had determined to try and deport these under-paid laborers prior to the government's judicial branch finishing its investigation of the illegally-functioning Kuwaiti owned cleaning firms.
In response to the governments nearly obscene recent actions, human rights activist, Dr. Faris Al-Wiqayan "censured a memorandum sent by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor" upon hearing of the action.
In it, Dr. Al-Wiqayan stated, "This constitutes a direct violation of human rights."
The ministry's confusing and somewhat illegal action apparently contravenes many legal procedures by the government.
One other human rights voice issued a similar statement, "The decision to deport the striking workers exposed the fact that officials are in league with officials of those defaulting companies. He also wondered why the Labor Ministry did not intervene in stipulating the salaries of those laborers that apparently does not exceed KD 20, reported Al-Qabas."
Twenty Kuwait Dinar (KD) is worth approximately 75 dollars. It is against the law in Kuwait for a company to pay less than KD 35 as a minimum wage. That is, some of the cleaning crews were being paid nearly 40 percent under the minimum wage.
POSSIBLE REASONS FOR THE BREACH OF RIGHTS
Why is such bad governance happening in Kuwait and why are people's human rights being ignored?