Library of Congress

Law Library of Congress

The Library of Congress > Law Library > News & Events > Global Legal Monitor

International Labor Organization/Kuwait: Removal from List of Countries Violating Workers’ Rights

(June 6, 2016) On June 2, 2016, during the 105th Session of the International Labor Conference, held in Geneva, the International Labor Organization (ILO) declared that Kuwait has been removed from the ILO’s list of countries that violate labor rights. Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Hind Al-Sabeeh responded to the ILO announcement by stating that the removal of Kuwait from the list was a result of the implementation of an array of legal measures adopted by the Kuwait government over the last few years to protect workers’ rights, especially those of foreign workers. (Kuwait Is Off the List of Countries Abusing Workers, GULF24 (June 1, 2016) (in Arabic); The Director of the ILO Endorses the Legal Measures Adopted by Kuwait to Protect Workers’ Rights Based on International Standards, AL ANBA (June 1, 2016) (in Arabic).)

According to the Minister, the Kuwaiti Ministry of Labor has collaborated with the ILO to address loopholes in domestic labor legislation to enhance the rights of foreign workers in Kuwait. Al-Sabeeh also discussed with the regional director of the ILO’s Arab office the recent agreements on legal cooperation reached between Kuwait and countries exporting the foreign workers to Kuwait. (Kuwait Is Off the List of Countries Abusing Workers, supra.)

Al-Sabeeh stated that Kuwait has in turn called upon other members of the ILO to apply legal standards regarding worker’s rights laid down in the ILO treaties. She argued that such an approach will assist in providing all workers with better living conditions. (The Director of the ILO Endorses the Legal Measures Adopted by Kuwait to Protect Workers’ Rights Based on International Standards, supra.)

Among the Ministry’s efforts to adhere to the ILO standards, Al-Sabeeh cited the establishment of a government manpower agency and the first center to shelter foreign workers abused by their employers. The center will be able to host 500 people and will also provide physical and mental health care and free legal aid to foreign workers. (Kuwait Removed from ILO’s List of ‘Violators’ – Int’l Community Needs to Protect Rights of Workers, Urges Kuwait, ARAB TIMES (June 2, 2016).)

Finally, Al-Sabeeh asserted the importance of the mutual cooperation among members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in the field of workers’ rights. She revealed that the GCC countries finalized discussions related to a Memorandum of Understanding on vocational safety and labor regulations. (Press Release, KUWAIT NEWS AGENCY, Kuwait Removed from ILO’s List of Countries Violating Labor Rights (June 1, 2016).)