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The recent government crackdown on demonstrations by monks and common people inside Burma focused the world’s attention on the ongoing human rights and humanitarian catastrophe there. After years of internal conflict and repression, 500,000 have been displaced internally and an estimated three million seek sanctuary and livelihoods in neighboring countries. Thailand and other countries in the region are already straining to handle the Burmese exodus.
The Arabic word, “bidun,” meaning “without” and short for “bidun jinsiya” (without citizenship), is used to denote longtime residents of Kuwait who are stateless. The estimated number of bidun in Kuwait ranges from 90,000 to 130,000, less than half the number who resided in the country prior to Iraq’s invasion in 1990. Those who remain are subject to systematic discrimination and their future is uncertain.