Details for They hunt us down for fun. Discrimination and police violence against transgender women in Kuwait

Name:They hunt us down for fun. Discrimination and police violence against transgender women in Kuwait

Human Rights Watch Report (2009).

Until 2007 transgender women in Kuwait were able to circulate freely, secure employment, access public health care, and live with minimal interference from police.

That changed when Kuwait’s National Assembly voted to amend the country’s penal code: A previously generic public decency law now stipulated that anyone “imitating the opposite sex in any way” would face one year in prison, a large fine, or both. The amendment did not criminalize any specific behavior or act, but rather physical appearance, the acceptable parameters of which were to be arbitrarily defined by individual police. These provisions have created a sea-change in the lives of Kuwaiti transgender women. Many have since become victims of abuse by police, who often take advantage of the law to harass, sexually assault, and arbitrarily arrest them.

Human Rights Watch urge Kuwait to take immediate steps to investigate allegations of torture, prosecute those responsible, and implement working mechanisms to curb future abuses. In order to comply with its obligations under international law, Kuwait should impose an immediate moratorium on arrests under the amended article 198 and repeal the amendment, which in and of itself is vague and overbroad, failing to define the elements of the crime with any specificity, and as a result has been applied in an arbitrary manner.

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