MPs in Kuwait have spoken out against Amnesty International for criticising proposed medical tests to detect and ban gay and trans people from entering Kuwait, and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.
The Health Ministry of Kuwait last week proposed that genetic tests for immigrant workers in countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, be tightened to prevent transgender migrants from entering the job market there.
In remarks published in Al Rai on Monday, MP Abdul Rahman Al Jiran said: “The decision to bar homosexuals from entering Kuwait is a sovereign decision. Amnesty International should take care of lofty and noble goals for which it was established, leave aside homosexuality and deviations and stop defending delinquents.”
According to Gulf News, the MP continued: “The organisation should heed the annual rates of births outside the institution of marriage in Europe and abortions as well as the high rates of under age mothers and other moral crimes forbidden by all divine religions.”
Another MP, Mohammad Al Jabri, also said that he thought the statement by Amnesty International was not acceptable.
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“I was surprised like all Kuwaitis by the interference in the affairs of an Islamic country where its people are committed to the values of Islam,” he said in a statement.
“I condemn the brazen requests by an organisation that introduces itself as a protector of freedoms and human rights. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs should respond urgently to the so-called Amnesty International to highlight the noble Islamic principles, values and teachings in which the people of Kuwait believe and which reject the propagation of vice and debauchery in the community.”
He went on to say that he thought a response from the foreign ministry should be “both clear and strongly worded.”
“We need to make sure that this organisation or any other would not dare target Kuwait or its pure Islamic beliefs,” he continued. “The ministry’s response will be under the scrutiny of the National Assembly immediately after its release to ascertain the extent of its reaction to the offence perpetrated by the international organisation and which is rejected by all Kuwaitis.”
A former MP, Mohammad Al Hayef said that he disagreed with Amnesty’s assertion that it would “reject any proposals to introduce these discriminatory ‘medical tests’ to ‘assess’ the sexual orientation or gender identity of people entering the country.”
“Such statements cause a backlash against the organisation,” Al Hayef said. “It should have reinforced the slogan of human rights and the defence of the oppressed, not confuse issue and interlace honey with poison so that one of its officials dares to encourage behaviour that is against the human nature and clashes with the teachings of all apostles. Deviant behaviour and attitudes undermine and destroy humanity.”
Thawabet Al Umma, an Islamist group, said that Amnesty International “should in the name of humanity encourage people to be straight in their behaviour and attitudes, and not encourage them to engage in deviant acts and destructive acts that undermine communities through lethal physical and psychological that are difficult to treat.”
It is illegal to be gay in all of the GCC member countries. These include Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Article 193 of the Penal Code in Kuwait punishes homosexuality between men, over the age of 21, with up to seven years imprisonment. If the conduct involves persons under the age of 21, then imprisonment can be for a maximum of ten years.