Gulf countries could seek to bar entry to all homosexual tourists and expats, a senior Kuwaiti government official claimed, adding that medical tests could be introduced to detect such individuals.
Speaking to an Arabic language newspaper, Al Rai, Yousuf Mindkar, the director of public health at Kuwait’s Ministry of Health, said that a central committee will be set up to investigate the proposal when it convenes next month.
He claimed that the measure could also be introduced in all Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC) which includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, all of which deem homosexual acts unlawful already.
“Health centers conduct the routine medical check to assess the health of the expatriates when they come into the GCC countries,” Mindkar was quoted as saying by Al Rai. “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.”
Last month, the government of Oman sued the editor of a weekly tabloid and suspended it from publication after it ran a story about gays in the Gulf Arab state. The article was deemed to be sympathetic to homosexuals, according to BBC news.
The publisher, Saleh Zakwani, said the Ministry of Information had told him not to publish the September 5 issue, but it was not clear how long the suspension was for. "No harm was intended by the story," he told Reuters.
The article in The Week, which distributes 51,000 copies in the Gulf sultanate, suggested that Oman was more tolerant about people's sexuality than other Gulf states.
The article was denounced across online social networks in Oman and the newspaper was forced to apologize.
In Bahrain, lawmakers, wary of the growing number of gays coming into the country, had pushed for a crackdown, including the adoption of tougher immigration measures and prompt deportations.
In Kuwait, prison terms for homosexual acts can reach 10 years if the people involved were under the age of 21.
According to the Daily Mail Online, at least 78 countries deem homosexuality illegal, with five countries issuing the death penalty to gay people – Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen and Mauritania.