On 26 June, there was an IS-led suicide bombing in a Shia mosque in Kuwait, which ended up killing 26 people and injuring 227 more. Kuwaiti officials believe that identifying and arresting all the culprits involved in the crime would have been easier if they had their DNA, which is why the country is now making it mandatory for all citizens to be DNA tested.
The new database will cost US$400 million and is mandatory for all 1.3 million citizens and 2.9 foreign residents.
So far, countries like the US, UK, Australia and Sweden keep DNA databases of those who have been convicted of a crime. This is the first time that a country is legalizing DNA testing of all residents. In the EU, keeping a DNA database was declared to be illegal after the European Court of Human Rights ruled in 2008 that keeping non-criminal citizens’ DNA “could not be regarded as necessary in a democratic society.”
In Kuwait, those who refuse to submit DNA can be punished with one year in prison and a fine of US$33,000, while those who provide a fake sample might be imprisoned for 7 years.
There are, however, concerns that this will allow the government to monitor their citizens. Authorities could use DNA to know about one’s ancestry, health, etc. “We have approved the DNA testing law and approved the additional funding. We are prepared to approve anything needed to boost security measures in the country,” said independent MP Jamal al-Omar.
It is being viewed as a blatant disregard of the security and privacy to which all citizens are entitled.