Stop Kuwaiti Police Violence Against Transgender Women

Target: Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, Prime Minister Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, and Members of Parliament

Goal: Investigate and discipline abusive Kuwaiti police, who torture and humiliate transgender women.

Imagine policemen forcing a detained woman to execute push-ups with a radiator on her back; dumping trashcans full of dirt and cigarette butts over women’s heads; or even brutally punching, kicking, or beating ladies with heavy staplers. These are the tender mercies visited upon transgender people by Kuwaiti officers.

Kuwaiti police routinely torture and sexually abuse transgender women under the auspices of a discriminatory 2007 law which arbitrarily criminalizes “imitating the opposite sex.” Individuals born male but who identify as female face physical, sexual, and emotional persecution on a daily basis by members of the public and police force. The government of Kuwait must repeal this discriminatory law and hold violent police officers accountable for their abuses. Kuwait must uphold its human rights obligations and protect all residents from brutal police misconduct and the application of unfair laws.

Kuwait stifles human rights with an arbitrary, vague law which allows police to “hunt [transgender women] down for fun,” just because they have a “soft voice [or] smooth skin.” Police also enjoy free rein to decide whether a person’s appearance constitutes “imitating the opposite sex” without any criteria laid down for the offense. Many transgender women reported police frames, where arresting officials forced victims wearing male clothes to change into women’s clothing and then accused the transgender women of wearing women’s attire at the time of arrest. Transgender women frequently claim that police use the threat of arrest to force them into sex, and actually imprison them if they refuse.

Transgender women also suffered police abuse and degrading treatment while in detention, which they fear to report due to threats of retribution and re-arrest. Human rights violations run the gamut from being forced to strip, dance, and parade around the police station; sexual humiliation; emotional and physical torture; verbal taunts and intimidation; solitary confinement; and coerced sex.

Tell Kuwait’s government that gender expression and identity are not crimes. They must immediately repeal this discriminatory law, investigate and hold accountable abusive police, and ensure that vulnerable transgender people can redress violations without fear of retribution.


Dear Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, Prime Minister Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, and Members of Parliament:

No person deserves torture and sexual assault for expressing their gender identity. I deplore Kuwait’s discriminatory laws and unchecked police violence against transgender women, which directly contravenes Kuwait’s international legal obligations to protect its residents from arbitrary arrest or detention. Police abuse of transgender women and institutionalized criminalization of gender identity expression violates their human rights to non-discrimination, equality before the law, free expression, personal autonomy, physical integrity, and privacy. As a signatory to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Kuwait’s unfettered perpetration of “sexual violence committed by police officers acting in an official capacity constitutes torture.”

I charge Kuwait’s Ministry of Interior with issuing a moratorium on arrests of individuals for “imitating the opposite sex” and Parliament with repealing this discriminatory law. The Kuwaiti government must protect transgender individuals from police abuse and violence, investigate allegations of police brutality and abuse, and construct mechanisms redress police misconduct without fear of retribution.

End Kuwaiti police abuse against transgender people and protect their human right to express individual gender identity. The hunt for justice begins with you.


[Your Name Here]

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One Comment

  1. Gen Lovyet Agustsson says:

    stop transphobia! stop violence against transgender people now!

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