Lawmakers in Kuwait have slammed criticism by Amnesty International over the county’s plan to introduce compulsory “medical tests” to bar migrant workers deemed to be “homosexual” from entering Kuwait and other Gulf countries.
On Friday, Amnesty described the proposal as “outrageous”.
“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, Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.
“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,” he added.
Kuwaiti MPs were outraged that the organisation came to the defence of gays and lesbians and accused it of meddling in the affairs of a sovereign state, reported Gulfnews.com.
MP Abdul Rahman Al Jiran was quoted by Al Rai on Monday as saying: “Amnesty International should take care of lofty and noble goals for which it was established, leave aside homosexuality and deviations and stop defending delinquents.”
MP Mohammad Al Jabri proclaimed that Amnesty was guilty of “interference in the affairs of an Islamic country where its people are committed to the values of Islam”.
He added: “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs should respond urgently to the so-called Amnesty International to highlight the noble Islamic principles, values and teachings in which the people of Kuwait believe and which reject the propagation of vice and debauchery in the community.”
Former MP Mohammad Al Hayef threw in his two cents by stating that Amnesty’s stance would “encourage behaviour that is against the human nature and clashes with the teachings of all apostles. Deviant behaviour and attitudes undermine and destroy humanity”.
Migrant workers from certain countries are required to undergo medical assessments when they apply for permits to work in Kuwait and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. Kuwait’s proposal, if passed, would add the new gay “medical test” to these assessments.
It remains unclear what kind of medical tests Kuwaiti intends to use to “detect” gay people.
The proposal will be debated at a meeting of the Central Committee for Expatriate Labor Forces Program of the GCC in Oman on 11 November.
In Kuwait, sexual relations between consenting adults of the same sex are illegal and can be punished with up to 10 years’ imprisonment. Under the country’s Penal Code “imitating members of the opposite sex” is also a criminal offence, punishable with a monetary fine or a prison sentence of up to one year.