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Kuwait Deports Lankans for Protesting Killing of Muslims at Home

On June 28, 2014

In mid-June, 14 Sri Lankan migrants held a peaceful, silent demonstration in front of their embassy to protest the murders of Muslims in Sri Lanka; on June 15th, lynch mobs organized by the Bodhu Bala Sena Buddhist nationalists left at least four Muslims dead, 80 injured, and several Muslim-owned homes and businesses destroyed.  Kuwaiti police detained the protestors for one week, deporting them on June 24th and permanently prohibiting their return.

Kuwait proceeded with the deportations despite public outcry as well as objections from parliament members.  MP Saud al-Hraiji urged the ministry of interior to halt the deportations, holding that “Kuwait should not risk the lives of these people. The minister should realize the human and religious side to such case.” All calls were unfortunately ignored.

One month prior, Kuwait deported 15 Egyptians for participating in a street celebration of Egypt’s presidential elections. Shortly after, authorities deported an Egyptian imam - a 15-year resident in Kuwait with family - for criticizing the Egyptian electoral process.

Kuwaiti and other Gulf authorities regularly deny migrants the right to individual review of their cases, the opportunity to contest their deportation, or even regular access to a lawyer and translator. Kuwait has especially intensified summary deportations of migrants in 2013 and 2014, and increasingly suppressed of migrants’ politicized expressions. The ministry of interior repeatedly justifies these deportations by holding that to protest is a right exclusive to citizens (Article 12 of the 1979 Public Gatherings Law).