Are Sudanese passports the Bidoons’ solution?

Protesters on social media say the Bidoons are ‘not for sale’.

Kuwaiti Bidoon
Kuwaiti Bidoon in the jungle refugee camp in Calais [Al Jazeera]

Speaking to the Anadolu news agency, the chairman of the Human Rights Committee in the Kuwaiti Parliament, Adel Al-Damkhi, said that Kuwait’s Interior Minister Sheikh Khalid Al-Jarrah Al Sabah proposed the idea of offering a Sudanese passport to the “Bidoon” people.

However, the Sudanese Interior Minister Hamed al-Merghany denied that the topic was ever discussed at any level between the two countries, calling it a rumour.

“No respectable country will ever agree to act as a dumping ground for other countries’ problems,” he said, to Al-Sudani newspaper on Saturday.


The term “bidoon” literally means “without” in Arabic, and has come to be used for the community of stateless Arabs living in Kuwait.

The Bidoon, who make up more than 100,000 of Kuwait’s population of three million, say they are the descendants of Bedouin tribesmen who failed to register for citizenship during the formation of the state in the 1940s through to the 1960s.

But the Kuwaiti government regards the “Bidoon” as illegal immigrants; claiming that the majority of them have Iraqi, Saudi or Syrian nationality, but they have hidden it in order to get the Kuwaiti citizenship.

Last week, Kuwait’s National Assembly has approved the second reading of a draft legislation that would, if passed, allow the “Bidoon” people to serve in the army.

In April of last year, Kuwait’s chief of general staff allowed “Bidoons” to join the country’s ground and air forces.

At the time, however, Defense Minister Mohammed al-Khalid Al Sabah had said that only those stateless people whose fathers had served in the army would be allowed to join the country’s armed forces.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies