Kuwait is about to become the first country to require all citizens, expatriates, residents and visitors to provide a DNA sample to the government’s database. The law, which is expected to go into effect in November, has now been legally challenged.
The law was ratified in July 2015, following the suicide bombing of a Shiite mosque in Kuwait, and should help facilitate solving crimes and increase national security. While many have questioned how this law should prevent future attacks, it also raises many human rights and privacy concerns. It is feared that DNA samples could be used to conduct paternity testing and expose infidelity – which is a crime in the country – or enforce citizenship i.a.
Everyone who refuses the compulsory testing could face a year in jail or a $33,000 fine. Faking the samples could even mean seven years imprisonment.
The law has sparked international outrage from various groups and delegations. The UN Human Rights Committee, Human Rights Watch and the European Society of Human Genetics, have reached out to Kuwait’s government to amend or cancel the law. Meanwhile in Kuwait, local attorney Adel Abdulhadi personally decided to challenge this law with his partners. He argues that the law violates „fundamental human rights and personal freedoms protected and sacred by the Kuwait constitution“, adding that the law is „similar to forcing house searches without a warrant.“
Sources: International Business Times, New Scientist
Read more on Kuwait:
- Kuwait constitutional court may have to determine risks of DNA law to privacy (17th September 2016)
- When blood determines your right to citizenship, free education & healthcare (25th August 2016)
- UN Human Rights Committee urges Kuwait to amend DNA testing law (16th July 2016)
- 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 January 2016)
- New Kuwaiti passports require DNA profiling (16th December 2015)