A new Kuwaiti law has imposed mandatory DNA tests on citizens and foreigners, violating the right to personal privacy. Human Rights Watch claims that it should be amended.
Parliament endorsed the law in early July, 2015 less than a week after an Islamic State jihadist blew himself up in a Shiite mosque in Kuwait killing 26 people and wounding more than 200 others.
AdvertisementThe new counter-terrorism law has made Kuwait the only country to demand nationwide compulsory DNA testing, said HRW.
"Many measures could potentially be useful in protecting against terrorist attacks, but potential usefulness is not enough to justify a massive infringement on human rights," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at the New York-based HRW.
The legislation calls on the interior ministry to establish a database on all Kuwait's 1.3 million citizens and 2.9 million foreign residents.
Under the law, people who refuse to give samples for the test face one year in jail and a fine of up to $33,000. Those who provide fake samples can be jailed for seven years.
DNA gathering systems like the one Kuwait intends to have been outlawed by the European Court of Human Rights, several US domestic courts and others on the grounds of privacy rights, said HRW.
"To serve the interests of Kuwaiti national security and comply with Kuwait's obligations under international human rights law, the bill should be amended and narrowed extensively," it said.