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Nawaf Al-Hendal

Nawaf Al-Hendal

HRD, Founder
Kuwait Watch

The government will arrest anyone. For Gulf regimes, human rights defenders are terrorists.

Nawaf Al-Hendal has been an active human rights defender in Kuwait since 2004. Nawaf Al Hendal advocates for human rights in Kuwait, in particular the rights of the Bedoon Community. The term Bedoon, meaning 'without' in Arabic, refers to the community of stateless persons, native to Kuwait, who are prohibited from obtaining any official state documents including, but not limited to birth, death or marriage certificates. They constitute approximately 180,000 of Kuwait's population. In December 2014, Al Hendal founded the Kuwait Watch Organisation for Human Rights, and currently serves as its director.

Al-Hendal is also an outspoken critic of regional security treaties between his Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Agreements between Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC) allow Gulf governments the right to exchange private information about citizens and residents. According to Al-Hendal, such treaties expand the effects of arrest and travel bans, such that citizens persecuted in one country face automatically face identical charges in other GCC states.

Human rights defenders in Kuwait face intimidation, travel restrictions, detention without charges, and increasingly serious judicial harassment.