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Urged to Amend

There's increasing opposition to a Kuwaiti law requiring all citizens, residents, and visitors to give DNA samples, Stat News reports.

The law was passed in July 2015 and is aimed at reducing crime and terrorism, but critics say it's an invasion of privacy. The law has yet to go into effect; however, Stat News says that as Kuwait will soon be rolling out new passports, there are concerns that testing may begin with people who apply for new documents.

Olaf Rieß, the president of the European Society of Human Genetics, recently argued that such a DNA databank could uncover instances of adultery, which is illegal in Kuwait, and could be used to gauge people's ancestry to lead to discrimination.

In addition, Stat News reports that a United Nations committee says the law violates the right to privacy. The committee further says it should be to be changed to only apply to people suspected of committing a serious crime and that testing should be done with a court order.

At the same time, Mourad Dhina from the human rights group Alkarama tells Stat News that "[t]here are reports of a growing opposition within Kuwaiti civil society against this law."

But as Kuwait has limitations on free speech, Stat News notes it is difficult for citizens to protest. "But the silence doesn't mean Kuwait residents support the creation of a nationwide genetic database — or that they'll comply with the mandate," it adds.