‘Gray Area’ Wins EU’s Chaillot Prize For Promotion Of Human Rights

The EU Ambassador to the State of Kuwait and the State of Qatar, H.E. Cristian Tudor, has presented the 2020 Chaillot Prize for the Promotion of Human Rights in the GCC region to ‘Gray Area’, a civil society initiative in Kuwait that aims to raise awareness of the social stigmas and legal inequalities experienced by children of Kuwaiti mothers and non-Kuwaiti fathers.

The Chaillot Prize is instituted by the European Union Delegations in the region, along with the Embassies of the Member States, as a way of constructively promoting Human Rights in the GCC states. The prize is awarded each year to a civil society organization (CSO) or individuals, for their efforts in the promotion of Human Rights in the GCC.

The Chaillot Prize is named after the Palais de Chaillot in Paris where the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted on 10 December 1948 by the United Nations General Assembly. The announcement of the 2020 Chaillot Prize winner took place on 10 December 2020 to mark the 72nd anniversary of the adoption of the declaration.

During a small ceremony held to announce the award at the EU residence, in full adherence to prevailing precautionary health measures, Ambassador Tudor said: “We are very proud to award this year’s prize to Gray Area for their efforts in advocating the cause of non-citizen children of Kuwaiti mothers and non-Kuwaiti fathers, and raising awareness of the ambiguity of some of the laws pertaining to them.” He added that their efforts have been very noteworthy and ought to be highlighted.

“For us in the EU, promoting and defending human rights is at the heart of our external policy as they are among the EU’s founding values of human dignity, freedom and respect for human rights. We do that with the hope of creating a better, more just world,” said the ambassador.

A spokesperson from Gray Area said: “We would like to thank the Delegation of the European Union to the State of Kuwait for this award as it highlights our efforts towards the urgency of implementing gender equality in nationality laws not only in Kuwait, but in the region. We would also like to thank our community for its endless support, and we hope this is the mark of many more milestones to come as we continue to advocate for the naturalisation of children of Kuwaiti mothers.”

Throughout the past three years, Gray Area has been raising awareness about the various inequalities surrounding the legal rights of children of Kuwaiti mothers. Only 25 of 197 countries around the world currently do not grant women gender equality in nationality laws, and 12 of those countries are in the Middle East and North Africa region.

While organisations in the past have advocated the topic of naturalisation of children of Kuwaiti women from a women’s rights perspective, Gray Area is amplifying the voices of the children while challenging society’s view of women who marry non-nationals. Their ‘Gray Stories’ campaign is a collection of short stories told by children of Kuwaiti mothers that highlight their struggles. By taking a storytelling approach, Gray Area is extending a platform for children of Kuwaiti mothers to tell their stories in their own way.



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