May 28, 2024

Kuwait to establish national DNA record

In a world first, the State of Kuwait will require all citizens and visitors to provide DNA samples to government authorities.

In a world first, the State of Kuwait will require all citizens and visitors to provide DNA samples to government authorities.

The new security measure, which was approved by the nation’s government in July 2015, mandates that all visitors must provide police with a DNA record (most likely in the form of a standard cheek swab) before they enter the country. 

Government officials say that the new requirement will be a very useful means of combatting crime, as it allows for the matching of DNA specimens from crime scenes with the DNA code of any member of the population.

“DNA tests have proven very effective over the past decade and have been used in solving many crimes by matching biological evidence collected from crime scenes with databases”, an anonymous official told the Kuwait Times.

Officials suggest that the samples will be stored securely and

The government intends to store the specimens of visitors, as well as that it will be hard for even lab staff to access sensitive identifying information about the source of the sample.

International NGO Human Rights Watch has stridently criticised the new legislation. In a statement released when the laws were first approved, Middle East director Sarah Leah Whitson said,

“Many measures could potentially be useful in protecting against terrorist attacks. I suppose videotaping every user of a public toilet could be useful too, but that kind of intrusion is hardly necessary or proportionate, and neither is compulsory DNA testing.”

Under the law, individuals who refuse to provide a sample could face up to 7 years in prison.

Kuwait to establish national DNA record
Xavier Symons
Creative commons