The world celebrates the annual International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on March 21. On that day in 1960, the police opened fire and killed 69 people who were participating in a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville, South Africa, against the "traffic laws" imposed by the apartheid system. On proclaiming that day in 1966, the General Assembly called for the redoubling of efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination (Decision 2142 (d - 21)). This year's theme (the challenges of the Durban Declaration and Program of Action and its achievements after 15 years ) was selected to act as a celebration of over 15 years on the adoption of the landmark document known as the Durban Declaration and Program of Action at the World Conference against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, which was adopted on the 8th of September 2001 in South Africa.
Durban Declaration and Program of Action at the World Conference against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance is the most comprehensive framework to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. As well as it represents a commitment of the international community in addressing these issues, besides its being the basis to raise awareness all over the world.
On this occasion, Kuwait Society for Human Rights renews the demand to abolish the recent decisions issued by the officials in the Ministry of Health on discrimination in the provision of health services.
The Society said that the discrimination in the provision of some health services and medicines, as well as the decision to separate the outpatient clinics of the hospital «morning for Kuwaitis» and «evening of migrant labor» which was applied officially, besides the study of assigning Jaber Hospital for Kuwaitis only and other decisions that reinforce racial discrimination, present blatant violation of human rights and to the human values of which the Kuwaiti society is famous for. That also damages the reputation of our country on both sides: legal and human.
The Society added that these decisions violate the Kuwaiti constitution, of which Article (15) states: The State takes responsibility of public health and means of prevention and treatment of diseases and epidemics. It also violates the international conventions and treaties, as the human right to health for all who reside on the land of Kuwait is recognized in many international instruments. Paragraph 1 of Article 15 of the universal declaration of human rights affirms: "Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for his health and his family's, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services." Also that right was reported in the international conventions ratified by Kuwait which became a party in them. The international Covenant on economic, social and cultural rights provides the most comprehensive article on the right to health in international human rights law. And in accordance with Article 12 (1) of the Covenant, all the state parties recognize "the right of everyone to enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health ", while Article 12 (2) lists, for example, a number of" measures that the states parties should take to achieve the full realization of that right ". In addition, the right to health is recognized in Article 5 (e ) (4) of the international convention on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination, in articles 11.1 (f) and 12 of the convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women, and in Article 24 of the convention of the rights of the Child. Also the right to health is recognized in a number of the regional rights instruments, such as the European Social Charter of 1961 as revised (Article 11), the African Charter on human and peoples' rights of 1981 (Article 16), the additional protocol of the American Convention on human rights in the area of economic, social and cultural rights of 1988 (Article 10), and other international instruments of human rights.
The Society added that, in 17 to 27 November 1996, a UN special rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia visited Kuwait, and presented a report in which he thanked the government. He stated in his report of 1996 that the government is resisting tendencies of xenophobia and they refused to build separate hospitals for foreigners. Thus such decisions would damage the credibility of Kuwait in front of international forums in respect for human rights and the absence of racial discrimination on its territory.
The Society pointed out that such decisions promote the culture of hatred against migrant labor in Kuwait which has a noticed spread recently due to the evasion of some officials to their responsibility, and their inability to provide services and consider the migrant labor in Kuwait as reason for that. That also harms the reputation of Kuwait internationally as a center for humanitarian work, and therefore it would be a shame and illogical that we provide aid to all the countries in the world and deprive the residents of Kuwait from them.
The Society stressed that such decisions which are taken without thoughtful consideration and violate the international laws, agreements, and charters make us confident that some officials in the Ministry of Health, unfortunately, did not realize until now the value of the achievement obtained by Kuwait as a center for humanitarian work under the wise leadership of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, may Allah protect him, which requires them to work more on harmonizing all the decisions that are taken to the values of human rights.
The Society demanded that the officials in the Ministry of Health to respect the human right to health, to abolish such decisions and to provide health for all without discrimination.
The Society also appealed the members of the Council of the Nation to shoulder their responsibility, and to stand and rejected such studies and decisions that violate human rights and damage the reputation of Kuwait in the international forums.
Kuwait Society for Human Rights