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Kuwait[1] [print]

Last edited: December 2005


Summary and Analysis


We were unable to find any statutory provisions that speak to Kuwait's implementation of Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) with respect to the child's right to be heard in child protective proceedings.  Additionally, we have been unable to find any laws detailing the existence and procedures of a child protective system. 


Kuwait signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child in June, 1990 and ratified the CRC in October, 1991.[2] Some treaties upon ratification and publication have the force of law in Kuwait, whereas others, including those involving the public and private rights of citizens come into force only when made by a law.[3]  It is thus unclear what force in the law, if any, the CRC has.


Kuwait submitted one state party report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child in 1996. In this party report, although acknowledging the full scope of Article 12, Kuwait's statements about its own progress in the relevant areas pertained to freedom of opinion and did not speak about the child's right to be heard in judicial proceedings.[4]  In response, the Committee directly responded to the lack of Article 12 implementation, expressing concern at the lack of a requirement for the child's views to be heard in legal proceedings affecting the child.[5]  The Committee further encouraged Kuwait to codify the right of the child to be heard in accordance with Article 12.[6] 


UNICEF has stated that there is currently no means through which the problems of child abuse can be dealt with and that there is a lack of information about child abuse and neglect.[7]  However, according to Kuwait's report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, article 24 of the Juveniles Act provides for the termination of parental rights when the child has been ill-treated.[8] The rights are then vested in another relative or non-relative caregiver or social welfare institution.[9]


The U.S. State Department reports that there are some unofficial homes for abused children that are run, in name only, by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor.[10] There seem to be reports that children in these homes may be abused or used for prostitution and that the living conditions are extremely poor.[11]


Kuwait does have several laws calling for criminal penalties for those who mistreat children and has a provision in the Constitution giving the state the responsibility to protect children from moral, physical and spiritual neglect.[12]  In spite of these laws, though, the Committee feels that greater information needs to be gathered and more needs to be done to protect children who are victims of abuse.[13]


We were unable to locate much of the law on Kuwait and, despite our best efforts, unable to find a contact person.


Sources of Law (In Order of Authority)






Article 9 Family
The family is the corner-stone of Society. It is founded on religion, morality, and patriotism. Law shall preserve the integrity of the family, strengthen its ties, and protect under its support motherhood and childhood.


Article 10 Youth Protection
The State cares for the young and protects them from exploitation and from moral, physical, and spiritual neglect.


International Law


Convention on the Rights of Child[15]


Article 12

1. States Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.

2. For this purpose, the child shall in particular be provided the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child, either directly, or through a representative or an appropriate body, in a manner consistent with the procedural rules of national law.


Additional Resources and Links


http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/kuwait.html - UNICEF - At a Glance: Kuwait




[1] This page is also available as a .pdf Document, and Word Document.

[2] Convention on the Rights of the Child, Ratifications and Reservations, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, http://www.ohchr.org/english/countries/ratification/11.htm.

[3] Const. of Kuwait (1962), ¶70, available http://www.oefre.unibe.ch/law/icl/ku00000_.html, and also here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[4] Committee on the Rights of the Child, Initial reports of States parties due in 1993, Addendum: Kuwait, ¶ 28-32, U.N. Doc. CRC/C/8/Add.35 (Dec. 09, 1996), available http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(Symbol)/cc275cf820caca36802564c9004e2fd0?Opendocument, and also here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[5] Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child: Kuwait, 19th Sess., 487-489th mtg. ¶ 19, U.N. Doc. CRC/C/15/Add.96 (Oct. 26, 1998), available http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(Symbol)/c79e4dcdc085282e802566cd0059b6db?Opendocument, and also here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[6] Id.

[7] UNICEF, At a Glance: Kuwait, available http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/kuwait.html, and also here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[8] Kuwait, supra note 4, at ¶ 93.

[9] Id.

[10] U.S. Dept. of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices - 2004: Kuwait, available http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2004/41725.htm, and also here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[11] Id.

[12] Id. at ¶ 114-123.

[13] Concluding Observations, supra note 5, at ¶ 22.

[14] Const. of Kuwait, supra note 3.

[15] G.A. Res. 44/125, U.N. GAOR, 44th Session, Supp. No. 49, U.N. Doc. A/44/736 (1989), entered into force Sept. 2, 1990, available at http://www.ohchr.org/english/law/crc.htm. Unsure what force in the law, if any, the CRC has and in what order of authority.


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