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Compulsory Premarital Screening in Kuwait: A Critical Evaluation

Alben-Ali, Razan (2014) Compulsory Premarital Screening in Kuwait: A Critical Evaluation. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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This thesis critically examines Kuwait’s policy on compulsory premarital screening and the justifications advanced for it. Introduced under Kuwait Family Law Act 2008 section 31, premarital screening has become mandatory for prospective spouses in order to complete the marital process. In the past six years, more than 78,000 prospective spouses have been screened for genetic disorders and infectious diseases; yet despite its wide application, its justification remains unclear. The primary aim of this thesis is to shed light on this under-researched policy and to critically evaluate its significance in terms of ethical and legal ramifications. To do so, the thesis aims; to assess whether compulsory premarital screening meets human rights standards and is consistent with the rights of people with disabilities; to determine whether premarital screening offers a viable and legitimate solution to certain cultural particularities found in Kuwait; to ascertain whether there are other less controversial alternatives to compulsory premarital screening. With this in mind, the justifications advanced for compulsory premarital screening and its impact on internationally recognised human rights principles is evaluated with reference to treaties recognized by the United Nation and ratified by Kuwait. In reflecting on how the policy is justified, the thesis will analyse relevant regulations in other Arab countries to highlight similarities and differences among value systems. To illustrate international developments regarding screening and possible infringement of human rights principles, relevant debates in the UK will also be referred to. The findings question the validity of compulsory premarital screening. The adequacy of consanguinity as a reason to mandate screening for genetic disorders is questioned, as some have viewed this as only one among several factors causing genetic disorders. It also reinforces concerns that compulsory premarital screening disproportionately affects prospective spouses who have genetic disorders and infectious diseases. The potential elimination in these circumstances of the existence of people with disabilities in Kuwait throws its desirability into question. The present study provides essential insights into the value system underlying medical screening, disability issues and human rights regulations in Kuwait. The thesis concludes by proposing other more acceptable and less controversial alternatives for advancing the objectives of compulsory premarital screening.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Premarital screening, Medical examination, Disability Rights, Consanguinity, Human Rights
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law (Leeds)
The University of Leeds > Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law (Leeds) > School of Law (Leeds)
Depositing User: DR. Razan Alben-Ali
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2015 10:16
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2015 10:16
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/9234

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