While the Constitution of Kuwait contains explicit guarantees for the right to free speech and association, in practice human rights defenders (HRDs) exercising these rights are targeted and face systematic violations. In recent years, digital security has become a growing concern, as the regime intensified its efforts to muzzle HRDs using the internet for their work. Online activists are targeted on very ambiguous grounds, most often under the claim that their public statements constitute insults to the Emir or the judiciary.
HRDs working offline face similar intimidation tactics, most often including travel restrictions, detention without charges, and increasingly serious judicial harassment. Such tactics are facilitated by a legal context that falls short of Kuwait's international obligations, and even of the principles enshrined in the national constitution.