Kuwait is a constitutional, hereditary emirate ruled by the Al Sabah family. While there is also a democratically elected parliament, the Amir holds ultimate authority over most government decisions. The most recent parliamentary general election, considered generally free and fair, was held in September 2022.
Police have sole responsibility for the enforcement of laws not related to national security, while the Kuwait State Security oversees national security matters. Both police and Kuwait State Security personnel report to the Ministry of Interior, as does the Coast Guard. The Kuwait National Guard is independent of the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Defense. The Kuwait National Guard reports to the prime minister and the Amir. The Kuwait National Guard is responsible for critical infrastructure protection, support for the Ministries of Interior and Defense, and the maintenance of national readiness. Civilian authorities maintained effective control over the security forces. There were credible reports that members of the security forces committed some abuses.
Significant human rights issues included credible reports of: torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment by government agents; arbitrary arrest; political prisoners and detainees; serious restrictions on free expression and media, including censorship and the existence of criminal libel laws; serious restrictions on internet freedom; substantial interference with the freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association, including overly restrictive laws on the organization, funding, or operation of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and civil society organizations; restrictions on freedom of movement including the right to leave the country; serious government corruption; government harassment of domestic human rights organizations; lack of investigation of and accountability for gender-based violence, including domestic or intimate partner violence; trafficking in persons; crimes involving violence or threats of violence targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or intersex persons; and the existence and use of laws criminalizing consensual same-sex sexual conduct between adults.
The government took significant steps in some cases to prosecute and punish officials who committed abuses, whether in the security services or elsewhere in the government. Impunity was a problem in corruption and trafficking in persons cases.
For Further Reference
Full U.S. Department of State Human Rights Country Report
U.S. Department of State International Religious Freedom Country Report
U.S. Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report Country Narrative
Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review
Human Rights Watch World Report Country Chapter
Amnesty International Annual Report Country Chapter
Freedom House Freedom in the World Country Report