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Report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, “Integration of the human rights of women and the gender perspective: violence against women”, E/CN.4/2005/72/Add.1, March 18, 2005: Kuwait

Urgent appeal

232. On 15 July 2004, the Special Rapporteur sent an urgent appeal jointly with the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance concerning A.M.Al-D., aged 27 and male by birth, who underwent sex-change surgery in 2001 and changed his name from Ahmed to a women’s name. She wishes to be addressed in accordance with her female status. It is reported that the subject caused constant friction and conflict with her family. She was asked to leave Kuwait University, was subjected to constant harassment and not allowed to work. She reportedly presents classical symptoms of gender identity disorder, with psychosocial stressors including family difficulties, stress at work and study environment and difficulties coping with societal pressure. In view of these circumstances, she tried to commit suicide three times. It is reported that she went to court regarding her legal status following her sex change. She was later told that her lawyer had conducted an interview with the local media regarding her case without her consent. She is said to have taken the newspapers to court regarding the negative reports published about her. However, a group reportedly filed a request on behalf of society and on religious grounds that the case be rejected. On 23 June 2004 the judge is said to have postponed the final judgement until 7 September 2004. In this context, fears have been expressed for her physical security and access to justice owing to discrimination on the basis of her sex.

Government reply

233. By letter dated 9 September 2004, the Government reported that A.M.Al-D.A. presented a request to the judiciary on 7 June 2003 that has sex change be recognized. The court approved his request and confirmed his right to change his sex in a decision dated 24 April 2004. The Government stated that the decision confirms the fairness of the Kuwaiti judiciary and its independence, allowing a person to exercise their right to change sex and not be subjected to any discrimination.

234. In regard to the allegations in the letter sent by the Special Rapporteurs that A.M.Al.D was humiliated and discriminated against at work, leading to his dismissal, the Government affirmed that the dismissal was not based on discrimination but was in accordance with laws governing public service in Kuwait. In regard to the allegations that he suffered harassment by his family, they stated that it is not possible for the Government to intervene in such issues.

Link to full text of the report: Communications-SR Violence against women-2005-eng