London / Beirut
14 September 2023
Kuwait: Impose a moratorium on the use of the death penalty; review its place and application in Kuwaiti law and take steps to end its use
In a 12 September 2023 submission to the United Nations’ Human Rights Committee, Salam for Democracy and its partners: The Advocates for Human Rights, The Cornell Center on the Death Penalty Worldwide and The World Coalition Against the Death Penalty, assessed the use of the death penalty in Kuwait and called on the government to impose a moratorium on its use in order to review its application and take steps to ending the practice all together.
In 1996 the Government of Kuwait (GoK) acceded to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Its accession to the treaty means that the GoK is required by law to uphold the provisions of the treaty. These relate to, amongst a range of fundamental human rights, freedom of expression, association and assembly; freedom from torture; gender rights and ensuring everyone’s right to take part in public life. Kuwait is not a state party to an additional part of the treaty – an optional protocol – that prohibits the use of the death penalty. It remains legal under international law.
Between 9 October and 3 November 2023, the Human Rights Committee – an independent panel of experts, not connected to any state – will review the GoK’s implementation of its treaty obligations, and follow up on issues that emerged in previous reviews.
There are at least 24 people under sentence of death in Kuwait and in July 2023, the government executed five people by hanging. As Kuwait will take up a seat on the United Nations’ Human Rights Council from 1 January 2024, until 2026, the human rights organisations called on the GoK to review the place of the death penalty and impose a moratorium on its use.
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