11 June 2015, Transparency International.
This post was originally published on the Transparency International website.
Elected board replaced with government appointees: TI movement calls for its reinstatement
Transparency International is calling for the reinstatement of the elected Board of Directors of its Kuwait chapter Kuwait Transparency Society (KTS), following the Kuwaiti government’s move to dissolve the board and replace it with government appointees on 7th May 2015.
In order to protect the staff and membership of KTS, a fully accredited chapter of Transparency International, Transparency International’s board has passed a resolution suspending the organisation from the Transparency International movement until further notice.
Transparency International does not recognise the government-appointed temporary board and we request that the original KTS board, elected by KTS members in 2014, is restored to its rightful place.
The government-appointed temporary board on 22nd and 23rd May illegally advertised the selling of KTS’ assets. Existing staff at KTS were informed that their contracts will be terminated by the end of June 2015 and KTS’ landlord was informed of KTS’ intention to vacate their office by the same date.
These developments mark a peak in the massive harassment to which KTS has been subjected on groundless allegations of political bias, ‘illegal’ affiliation to an international organisation and defamation of the image of the state of Kuwait.
“Civil society has a crucial part to play in the fight against corruption and no country serious about tackling graft can afford to close down organisations such as Kuwait Transparency Society,” said José Ugaz, chair of Transparency International. “These actions send out entirely the wrong signals.”
KTS has been an active member of the Transparency International movement since 2006. Until recently the government has not raised any concerns regarding KTS’ activities. On the contrary, KTS has been recognized on many occasions for its significant contribution towards a Kuwaiti society free from corruption in all its forms and manifestations.
Transparency International calls on the Kuwaiti government to safeguard the space for civil society in the fight against corruption and to ensure basic rights for civil society to work free from fear, harassment and intimidation, in line with Article 13 of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), which Kuwait has ratified in 2007.