The sun sets March 7, 2003, over the Kuwait City skyline
The sun sets March 7, 2003, over the Kuwait City skyline. © Romeo Gacad - AFP/File
The sun sets March 7, 2003, over the Kuwait City skyline
Last updated: October 11, 2013

Amnesty slams plan for tests to ban gays from Gulf

A Kuwaiti proposal to require "medical tests" to prevent homosexual or transgender migrants from entering Gulf countries is "outrageous" and should be rejected, Amnesty International said Friday.

"This proposal will only further stigmatise people who already suffer extremely high levels of discrimination and abuse on the grounds of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Philip Luther, the rights group's Middle East and North Africa director.

"Instead of continuing to discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual,transgender and intersex individuals, authorities in Kuwait should work to ensure that people are not harassed and abused because of who they are and repeal laws that criminalise sexual acts between consenting adults.”

Amnesty said the proposal, put forth earlier this month by Kuwait's director of public health, would ban anyone found to be homosexual, transgender or a cross-dresser from entering the country.

The proposal will be debated by the expatriate labour committee of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in Oman on November 11.

Amnesty said the proposal, if adopted, would add a new test to the medical assessments already required for migrants, most of whom hail from South and Southeast Asia.

“It is an affront to the fundamental human right to privacy and underscores the continuing persecution of individuals based on their sexual orientation or gender identity," Luther said.

Kuwait, like other Gulf countries, bans homosexuality, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

The GCC also comprises Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar.

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