wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy  Privacy
IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07KUWAIT1099 2007-07-10 13:11:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kuwait
Cable title:  

LABOR MINISTER TO TAKE "TIP" BULL BY THE HORNS

Tags:   PGOV PHUM ELAB KU TIP 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO8089
OO RUEHDE RUEHDIR
DE RUEHKU #1099/01 1911311
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 101311Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY KUWAIT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9584
INFO RUEHZM/GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT IMMEDIATE 1069
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO IMMEDIATE 1060
RUEHLM/AMEMBASSY COLOMBO IMMEDIATE 0287
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS IMMEDIATE 3068
RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA IMMEDIATE 0393
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD IMMEDIATE 0984
RUEHJA/AMEMBASSY JAKARTA IMMEDIATE 0108
RUEHML/AMEMBASSY MANILA IMMEDIATE 0567
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI IMMEDIATE 0390
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KUWAIT 001099 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

FOR NEA/ARP, INL/HSTC, AND G/TIP

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/10/2027
TAGS: PGOV PHUM ELAB KU TIP
SUBJECT: LABOR MINISTER TO TAKE "TIP" BULL BY THE HORNS

REF: A. KUWAIT 1094

B. KUWAIT 1070

Classified By: Ambassador Richard LeBaron for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).



1. (C) Summary and Comment: Minister of Social Affairs and
Labor Shaykh Sabah Al-Khalid told the Ambassador on July 9
that the Cabinet had focused its attention on trafficking and
had given him full authorization to take decisive steps on
fighting trafficking in persons. The Minister hinted that
other governmental entities had been ineffective and
indicated that he was determined to take decisive action. He
said MOSAL would draw up a comprehensive plan soon and that
tangible progress would be forthcoming in a number of areas:
a shelter, a decree clarifying the illegality of passport
withholding, and awareness raising. He also mentioned that
the GOK was working seriously on longer-term measures,
including an anti-trafficking law and bilateral Memoranda of
Understanding with labor-sending countries. End Summary and
Comment.



2. (C) Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Shaykh Sabah
Al-Khalid told the Ambassador on July 9 that in its most
recent meeting the Cabinet had given him full authorization
to take decisive steps on fighting trafficking in persons.
The minister said the issue had received major cabinet-level
interest and that the Minister of Interior had agreed to let
the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor (MOSAL) take the
lead on addressing the problems faced by domestic workers,
including working directly with the Interior Ministry unit
that regulates domestic labor. (Note: See ref A concerning
the Ambassador's July 8 discussion on TIP with the Minister
of Interior. End Note.) He said that within the next week
the GOK would draw up a specific anti-trafficking plan with
all the steps it would take. He predicted progress in a
number of specific areas within the next few weeks and said
he personally would speak to the public via the media to
explain the GOK's plan.

Shelter Coming Soon


--------------------------





3. (C) The minister said that action on a shelter for
trafficking victims would come next week. He said he would
sit down with officials in the health and interior ministries
to work out the details of such a shelter, including the
location, the staff, and the roles of the various ministries.
He blamed the delay on the difficulty of getting the
Municipal Council to allocate a parcel of land for the
shelter, but said the GOK had decided to rent one or more
buildings in order to get work started immediately.

Ministerial Decree on Withholding of Passports


--------------------------

-



4. (C) The minister said that MOSAL would issue a
ministerial degree within approximately a week emphasizing
that employers' withholding of passports is illegal. At a
July 1 meeting (ref B), the GOK Committee to Respond to
International Human Rights Reports promised to provide
evidence that courts regularly ordered employers to return
passports to workers. (Note: GOK officials have repeatedly
told Emboffs that withholding of passports by employers
against employees' will is illegal. However, it remains a
common practice. In fact, GOK officials often justify the
practice by saying that it provides assurance to the employer
that the employee will not abscond with company property.)

Anti-Trafficking Law


--------------------------





5. (C) The minister said that Kuwait already has sufficient
laws to prosecute any crime related to trafficking. However,
he also said it would redound to Kuwait's benefit to have a
specific law on trafficking. He noted that the Ministry of
Justice has completed a draft anti-trafficking law, which now
must be approved by the cabinet and parliament (see ref B).

Multi-Language Awareness Raising Brochures


--------------------------




KUWAIT 00001099 002 OF 002




6. (C) Shaykh Sabah Al-Khalid said he received word July 9
that 4,000 of the seven-language brochures MOSAL has created
are now ready for distribution at the airport, at recruitment
agencies, and at Kuwaiti embassies abroad. The brochures
detail the procedures and costs for various MOSAL
transactions that concern workers. PolOff suggested that the
GOK also hand out embassy-produced brochures, which contain
more general advice, such as what to do if caught by the
police (see ref B).

MOUs with Sending Countries


--------------------------





7. (C) The minister reported that many of the problems in
Kuwait stem from unscrupulous labor recruitment agencies in
sending countries. At the June ILO meetings in Geneva he met
with labor ministers from a number of Arab and Asian
countries whose citizens work in Kuwait to discuss the
problems faced by workers on both ends. He reported that he
had proposed that Kuwait and each of the sending countries
sign a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding that would
detail the roles of the sending and receiving countries in
reducing workers' complaints.

********************************************* *
For more reporting from Embassy Kuwait, visit:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/kuwait/?cable s

Visit Kuwait's Classified Website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/kuwait/
********************************************* *

LeBaron