Saturday, January 23, 2010

Robberies, Falls, Miscarriage, Detergent, Lebanese' Stereotyping, Human Rights Watch and Migrant Domestic Workers

When talking to many Lebanese about the rights of migrant domestic workers, I get responses such as "they're not worth the effort, they have too much rights and they abuse their employers". Yesterday, a Lebanese man added to this usual line that their Sri Lankan maid ran away more than a year ago and they have not found her yet. She left the door of their home open all night thus putting them in danger, he said.

Today, in Al-Akhbar, we read about a Filipino accused of robbing her employer in Lebanon and running away.

Unfortunately, many Lebanese are unable to distinguish between the need to secure fundamental human rights to all, and accountability for criminal behavior or social misconduct. I tried to convince the man yesterday that first, as a civilized society, we have to give minimum guarantees inline with human rights, and then address cases where these workers violate the law. My message did not seem to get through.

Also in Al-Akhbar, we read about an Ethiopian migrant worker in Lebanon, Marta Laza, 24 years, who was detained 15 months facing a trial for the death of her newborn. She got pregnant before coming to Lebanon. The court decision was "not guilty" as it could have been a natural case of miscarriage. Al-Akhbar asks about the (in)justice of preventive detention التوقيف الإحتياطي.

As for the image below, it's taken from the MENA main page of Human Rights Watch. The report "Deadly Month for Domestic Workers", on October 2009 suicide/death cases, is getting quite old by now. Come on Nadim! We have fresh cases of "falling" domestic workers to investigate! And also don't forget detergent drinking domestic workers (who probably live on the ground floor).

Not that I am not that happy that HRW is the only organization investigating, to my knowledge. Where are Lebanese Human Rights NGOs?

1 comment:

  1. Dear Wissam,

    Firt of all, allow me to thank you for this very important and interesting BLOG.

    The unfortunate and critical situation of Migrant Domestic Workers in Lebanon is a disgrace on everyone!

    Recently, the NGO KAFA (enough) Violence &Exploitation has launched a project to stop the abuse of MDW, under its Trafficking in Humans Unit. The project will address the issue on several levels (Research, awareness, and direct services). [Updates on the services will be posted later]

    Again, thank you for your much appreciated
    effort in this BLOG.