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Rights orgs protest treatment of Kuwait's "stateless" residents.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International (AI) have criticized Kuwait over the detainment of at least 14 people at a peaceful protest held by the country's large "stateless" community, a group known as Bidun.
Bidun activists have reportedly been holding regular protests in the capital city's Taima Square, according to Refugees International's statement Monday, which also raised alarm over the group's treatment.
There are between 90,000 and 180,000 Bidun living in Kuwait, but authorities refuses to give them citizenship, according to AI.
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Human Rights Watch Sarah Leah Whitson said in a statement today that “[t]he Bidun have a right like anyone else to peaceful protest, which the Kuwaiti authorities are obligated to respect,” adding that the "government needs to realize that suppressing peaceful demonstrations isn’t going to make Bidun grievances go away.”
For their part, protesters described security forces as calling in armored vehicles and using batons to quell the demonstration, said HRW.
Amnesty International's statement on behalf of the Bidun raised concerns over those detained, saying they "must be released unless charged with a recognizably criminal offense."
Human Rights Watch said as many as 16 people were arrested, one of which was a journalist.
Kuwait has been under increasing scrutiny over its treatment of Bidun, with the United Nations Human Rights Committee recently demanding that the country change its nationality law to stop discrimination against them, said IA.