The UN Human Rights Committee, composed of 18 international experts, called on Kuwait to amend its compulsory DNA testing law, saying that it was disproportionate and violated the right to privacy.
The law, which was put in place in 2015 after a suicide attack on the Imam Al-Sadeq Mosque in Kuwait City, obligates all citizens, temporary residents and tourists to submit their DNA to the government’s database. Anyone who refuses to provide their DNA receives a one-year prison sentence.
The law „imposes unnecessary and disproportionate restrictions on the right to privacy,“ the UN Human Rights Committee stated.
„We … asked them to amend it to ensure that DNA collection is limited, only on the basis of individuals suspected of having committed serious crimes and on the basis of a court order,“ committee member Sarah Cleveland told a news briefing.
Jamal Alghunaim, Kuwait’s ambassador to the UN who led the government delegation, told the panel last month that the law was to protect against terrorist threats and had sufficient safeguards to prevent unauthorized individuals from acquiring the information.
But the committee is also concerned that Kuwait’s DNA testing law, the first of its kind in the world, might lead other countries to impose similar laws: „Part of the reason the committee is very concerned about it is because of the prospect of copycat laws by other countries,“ Cleveland said. „It’s certainly the first time our committee has seen such a law.“.
More on Kuwait:
- Kuwait will require all tourists to provide DNA samples (28th April 2016)
- Human Rights Watch says Kuwait needs to narrow its DNA testing law in order to meet international privacy standards (23rd February 2016)
- Kuwait to be the first country with mandatory DNA testing for all citizens (24th February 2016)
- New Kuwaiti passports require DNA profiling (16th December 2016)