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Kuwait passes bill to naturalize 4000 stateless bidoons

The measure was passed by the Kuwaiti parliament with only two abstentions and no votes against.

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Stateless Arabs, locally known as bidoons, hold signs demanding Kuwaiti citizenship and calling for an end to racism and injustice during a demonstration in January 2013. (Yasser Al-Zayyat/AFP/Getty Images)

Kuwait will give citizenship to 4000 "bidoon" Arabs who are stateless living within the country's borders.

The measure was passed by the Kuwaiti parliament with only two abstentions and no votes against, said the BBC.

The law must now be signed by the emir.

"Today, we have laid down a roadmap to resolve the crisis of bidoons" Khaled al-Adwah, an independent MP, told parliament, reported AFP.

Before the law was passed there was much debate over the number of bidoons that would be naturalized.

It is believed that there are over 100,000 stateless people within Kuwait's borders.

Bidoons came from people whose ancestors did not apply for citizenship during the country's 1961 independence.

They also come from families whose father was foreign and mother was Kuwaiti or those who were recruited by the Kuwaiti security forces decades ago from abroad.

The BBC points out that they have been called "illegal residents" and excluded from government jobs.

Bidoons have campaigned for many years for citizenship.

In February, a bidoon group wrote to US President Obama for support.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/130320/kuwait-passes-bill-naturalize-4000-stateless-bidoons