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Kuwait official calls gay and transgender ban just a proposal

The plan is to medically identify gay and transgender foreigners to prevent them from working in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member countries
Kuwait's Bayan Palace
Chris Greenberg

A senior Kuwaiti official is downplaying the plan to keep gay and transgender foreigners from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member countries.

'It is a mere proposal that Kuwait will present to fellow GCC members in order to look into the possibility of amending the medical checkup rules for foreigners wishing to work and live in the GCC,' Khalid Al Jarallah, the foreign ministry undersecretary, said, according to Gulf News.

Earlier this month it was revealed by Yousouf Mindkar, Kuwait's director of public health, that health centers will take stricter measures in order to detect gay people.

'Health centres conduct the routine medical check to assess the health of the expatriates when they come to into the GCC countries,' he said to local daily Al Rai.

‘However, we will take stricter measures that will help us detect gays who will be then barred from entering Kuwait or any of the GCC member states,' Mindkar continued.

It remains unclear what these ‘gay tests’ are or what they involve. Gay rights activists have told GSN they are concerned it could be the infamous anal probe ‘test of shame’ prevalent in Lebanon.

Al Jarallah maintains the debate about the plan 'will reflect the keen interest of the GCC countries in human rights, taking into consideration the teachings of our religion and international agreements.'

The Gulf Cooperation Council member countries are Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The proposal will be considered next month.

The human rights group Amnesty International has called the idea 'outrageous.'

‘Authorities in Kuwait should work to ensure that people are not harassed and abused because of who they are and repeal laws that criminalize sexual acts between consenting adults,’ Philip Luther, Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa director, said on 11 October.

Didier Reynders, Belgium’s foreign minister, was equally critical.

'Belgium is a pioneer in protecting and reinforcing the fundamental rights of homosexuals, and therefore it cannot ignore any decision or law that fight this category or creates any form of discrimination against them on the basis of sexual orientations,' Reynders said this past Friday (18 October), as reported by Gulf News.

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