Qatar World Cup: new row as Kuwait vows to 'detect' gays
Health director boasts that Kuwait will identify and bar homosexuals from all Gulf states
THE QATAR World Cup could be embroiled in yet another controversy after one of its Gulf neighbours unveiled plans for screening tests to "detect" gay people and stop them entering the region.
The bizarre claim came from Kuwait, whose public health minister says that a medical process will be used to identify homosexuals and prevent them from entering any of the Gulf Cooperation Countries – Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
"Health centres conduct routine medical checks to assess the health of expatriates when they come into the GCC countries," public health director Yousuf Mindkar told the Kuwaiti newspaper Al Rai, according to Gulf Daily News. "However, we will take stricter measures that will help us detect gays, who will be then barred from entering Kuwait or any of the GCC member states."
Mindkar did not elaborate on the plans, notes Russia Today. "He did not indicate what measures – or how physically intrusive – these might be," it reports. But they have drawn condemnation from gay rights campaigners.
Richard Lane, from gay rights campaign group Stonewall, told the Daily Mail: "These proposals are not only futile but contrary to international human rights law."
Peter Tatchell told International Business Times the move would potentially prevent gay players and spectators attending the 2022 World Cup, due to be held in Qatar.
"This contradicts previous assurances given to Fifa by the Qatar government that everyone will be welcome and that there will be no discrimination," he said. "Fifa now has no option but to cancel the world cup in Qatar. Allowing it to go head in these circumstances would involve FIFA colluding with homophobic discrimination."
Fifa says it is unaware of the "specific" claim by Mindkar, but told IBTimes that it had a "zero tolerance policy towards any acts of racism and discrimination affecting the freedom of private persons – including their sexual and political freedom".
However, Fifa president Sepp Blatter was forced to apologise in 2010 after trying to brush off fears that gay football fans would be discriminated against at the World Cup. He said they should simply "refrain from any sexual activities" if they wanted to go and watch the tournament. ·