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Authorities urged not to deny the Bidun's right to freedom of expression

(Human Rights Watch/IFEX) - Beirut, January 13, 2012 - A government order to Bidun residents, a group the government considers “illegal residents,” not to organize demonstrations denies their rights and should be revoked, Human Rights Watch said today.

The Interior Ministry issued a statement on January 11, 2012, saying that it will “absolutely not allow the brothers who are illegal residents to organize any rallies, gatherings, sit-ins or demonstrations regardless of their nature, objective and mission.”

“This is a shameful effort to curb the rights to peaceful expression and assembly of Kuwait's Bidun,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “These universal rights belong to everyone, regardless of whether they are considered citizens or are fighting to gain citizenship.”

More than 106,000 people, known as Bidun, are considered illegal residents by the Kuwait government and have been denied citizenship for decades even though many are longtime residents. The Bidun have organized numerous demonstrations since February 2011 calling on authorities to address their citizenship claims.

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