I have been to many Middle Eastern countries (Bahrain, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, UAE, for example) but not to the State of Kuwait. I have an open invitation from some Kuwaiti colleagues to visit the country. The news that the country will extend DNA testing to tourists leaves me a little disquieted.
Kuwait has talked about introducing DNA testing for a while. Following the bombing of a mosque in June, 2015 which killed 26 worshippers in Kuwait City, the country quickly enacted laws to mandate DNA testing of its 1.3 million are Kuwaitis and 2.9 million expatriates. It’s the first country in the world to make such testing compulsory for its entire population. This mandatory DNA testing is considered illegal by the Court of Human Rights. It has been suggested that the law is invalidated by the Kuwaiti constitution.
Mobile collection points have been visiting offices or people can visit citizen services centres to submit their DNA while doing other transactions. A $US33,000 fine and a year in jail awaits those who refuse. A fake sample can result in jail for seven years. Makes me think of that movie Gattaca:
Tourists and visitors to Kuwait will have to provide a saliva specimen or blood drops of blood at a DNA testing centre at Kuwait International Airport. There will be “consequences of rejecting its procedures” for visitors who refuse the mandatory test! The Kuwait Times says testing is done to identify only criminals not for identifying heritage, lineage or disease risks.
How would you feel about a world with compulsory DNA collection and testing? Are you more or less likely to visit Kuwait?