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Kuwait: Ministry of Justice Provides Marriage Certificate to Stateless Woman

(Apr. 27, 2009) On March 25, 2009, for the first time in Kuwait, a personal status court issued a decision compelling the Ministry of Justice to provide a marriage certificate to a woman considered to be “stateless” (bidun jinsiya). The term bidun jinsiya refers to individuals of foreign ancestry and to members of certain Bedouin tribes who have lived for generations in Kuwait but have not been granted Kuwaiti citizenship. In its historic decision, the court ordered the Ministry to fill in the citizenship box on the marriage certificate with the term bidun jinsiya.

The plaintiff, who is married to a Kuwaiti citizen, had requested an official document from the Ministry of Justice verifying her current marital status. The Ministry had rejected the request on the grounds that the woman was stateless. According to the plaintiff's attorney, this rejection had hindered the registration process of her newborn infant and prevented the child from acquiring Kuwaiti citizenship. (Ministry of Justice Issues a Marriage Certificate to a Stateless Woman, AL QABAS NEWSPAPER, Mar. 15, 2009, available at
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