This year a DNA testing law will come into effect in Kuwait, the first of its kind in the world. The law aims at creating a DNA database for criminal security purposes. But unlike in other countries with DNA databases, where DNA samples are taken from suspected and/or convicted criminals only, in Kuwait it will be mandatory for all citizens as well as expatriates, residents and visitors to provide DNA samples to the database.
DNA samples will be collected at fixed centers at the interior ministry and citizen services centers to allow citizens to give samples while doing various transactions. Moreover, there will be various mobile centers that move amongst government establishments and bodies to collect samples from citizens in the offices they work in. The case is different for residents or visitors. Samples will be taken from residents upon issuing or renewing residency visas. Samples from visitors will be taken at a special center at the Kuwait International Airport. In collaboration with the Civil Aviation Department, airlines and embassies, visitors will be advised on their rights and duties.
The DNA law also includes some clauses that aim at protecting privacy. Revealing DNA database information will for example be punished by a maximum of three years in prison; individuals forging DNA documents or knowingly using them, will receive a maximum of seven years in prison and/or a maximum fine of USD 16.500 (KWD 5000); individuals who damage the DNA database will be punished by a minimum of three and a maximum of 10 years in prison. As another security measure, special barcodes will be used for DNA samples to prevent staff dealing with the samples to identify their source. The DNA law further bans obtaining medical information from these DNA tests. It has also been promised that the tests are not used for lineage or genealogical purposes.
The National Assembly passed the DNA testing law on July 2, 2015. It will go into effect once the Cabinet approves it.
Source: Kuwait Times
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