The ban at supermarkets in Kuwait reportedly was set in place when Ramadan began
Expatriates in Kuwait are being denied entry to cooperative societies during the holy month of Ramadan, according to several complaints received by Kuwait Times.
As per a report, while expats are allowed to enter co-ops in many areas, several Police Co-operative Societies are denying entry to anyone who is not a Kuwaiti citizen or working for the interior ministry.
Security guards stationed at all entrances also reportedly check people’s civil IDs.
According to the country’s Head of the Consumer Protection Association, Meshaal Al-Mane, this is an “illegal decision,” even if it is only being applied at interior ministry cooperative societies.
He explained that cooperative societies are businesses with a commercial license from the commerce ministry and are subject to the same market laws as other businesses. The ban violates consumer protection and human rights laws and is discriminatory, said Al-Mane.
“This decision is against the laws of consumer protection and the ministry of commerce and industry and human rights. Let’s assume that their claims that the co-ops are crowded is true. This is an administrative matter and must be organised administratively and not by random decisions, especially by preventing a consumer from buying their needs in the month of Ramadan,” he said.
Mane also explained that cooperative societies are businesses with a commercial license from the commerce ministry, and they are also subject to the same market laws as other businesses.
“The law must be implemented. As a representative of consumers in Kuwait, whether expats or citizens, we are obligated to protect their rights to enter any facility in the country and have the privilege to buy and shop,” he said. “Let us assume the opposite had happened, and a Kuwaiti was denied from entering a supermarket abroad. Is not that considered against the law?” Mane said.
The report said that a citizen, Ali Wahabi, called for the decision to be canceled immediately, saying it violated the constitution and had negative repercussions at the local and global levels.
“Kuwait is a humanitarian country. It has sufficient stocks, so there is no reason to prevent expatriates from entering. This decision must be canceled immediately, because it has negative repercussions at the local and global levels,” he said.
Another expat in Kuwait, Nada Maged, who used to buy from the Police Co-Op in Zahra, said the ban began three days before Ramadan and prevented anyone except Kuwaitis and interior ministry personnel from entering.
“They checked the IDs and prevented anyone from entering except Kuwaitis and interior ministry personnel,” she said.
The report said that Kuwait Times attempted to speak with the co-op’s administration, however, the co-op refused. An employee confirmed the rule had been implemented since the beginning of Ramadan, however requested to be anonymous.
The Consumer Protection Association has informed the undersecretary of the Ministry of Commerce about the incidents faced by expats and objected to such behaviour, according to Mane.
The decision to ban expats from entering cooperative societies during Ramadan is arbitrary and unfair, and violates the basic rights of individuals, regardless of their nationality or religion, the report said.