Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Lebanese voters go voting with the support of their maids

In the following article in yesterday's Daily Star on Municipal Elections:

Clashes mar Saudi's landslide win in Sidon
Exit polls show Consensus and Development List securing five times as many votes as rivals
By Patrick Galey, Mohammed Zaatari and Elias Sakr (Daily Star staff)
Monday, May 24, 2010

...we read:
Many residents could be seen queuing before polling stations opened at 7am. Some showed up with babies on shoulders or migrant domestic workers in tow, while others turned out after being delivered to vote in ambulances.

سريلانكية تطعن وتقتل مصري

كتبت الوكالة الوطنية اليوم

في محلة ضهور الزلقا، في قضاء المتن، اقدمت السيريلانكية كوماري مجهولة باقي الهوية على طعن المصري عصام عبدالغني عبيد من مواليد 1973، بعدة طعنات من مدية (سكين) في صدره وخاصرتيه، وفرت الى جهة مجهولة فيما نقل عبيد الى مستشفى "الارز" في حال الخطر الشديد، لكنه فارق الحياة فجر اليوم، رغم العناية الطبيةالمكثفة التي اخضع لها.
وبعد اعلان قوى الامن الداخلي بدأت تحرياتها واستقصاءاتها في محاولة لمعرفة المكان الذي هربت اليه الجانية كوماري لتوقيفها بناء لاشارة القضاء المختص. 

In Dhour Zalka, in the Metn, a Sri Lankan woman stabbed an Egyptian (born 1973) who died at the hospital. The police is looking for the Sri Lankan.

Radios, Cameras, Maids and Palettes not allowed

This is a photo of an announcement on a Lebanese beach/swimming facility. "Maids", in the Lebanese mind, means migrant domestic workers. So no doubt about it, we are witnessing another manifestation of Lebanese racism and discrimination against MDWs

In the Lebanese mind, mixing "inferior race" (i.e. not white people) and "inferior" work (based on the Lebanese mind scaling system as there is no such thing as 'inferior' work) objectifies people and makes the fall within the category of radios, cameras, palettes or the alike.

(Note: if you go to the beach this summer, please send me photos of similar material, if you find any, to my email was717 at gmail dot com, with information on the location of the photo)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Sri Lanka: Two guidebooks published for Sri Lankan migrant workers

Caritas Sri Lanka releases two guidebooks and a docudrama for Sri Lankans working abroad. The Catholic charity calls on the government to better protect Sri Lankans going abroad in search of work. It points out that, in some cases, wages are not even paid.

Full article here.

العاملات الأجنبيّات مشغولات بالانتخابات أيضاً

"Madam is happy because mister won presidency of the municipality" said one of the maids interviewed for Al-Akhbar's article on the interest of some migrant domestic workers in the ongoing Lebanese municipal elections.

المصدر: جريدة الأخبار
عدد السبت ٢٢ أيار ٢٠١٠

نقولا أبو رجيلي
(الأخبار)(الأخبار)أمام كنيسة إحدى قرى زحلة، وبعد خروجهن من قداس يوم الأحد، تجمعت أكثر من 10 عاملات من الجنسيّة الإثيوبية، في لقاء بنات الوطن الواحد. لكن اللقاء لم يقتصر على تبادل القبل، وإفراغ ما في جعبة كل منهن من أخبار سعيدة حيناً، وهموم العمل وفرقة الاغتراب في أغلب الأحيان، بل اتخذ منحى آخر، فنتيجة الانتخابات البلديّة والاختيّارية، احتلت حيزاً كبيراً من نقاشاتهن. العاملة الإثيوبيّة إيروس (19 عاماً) كانت بينهن، ونقلت إلى ربة عملها «أم أحمد»، ما حكته لها بنات وطنها

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Full videos of Monday's Public Discussion on the Plight and Rights of Migrant Domestic Workers

The discussion was really intense, at some points, despite the relatively low turn out. It was held on Monday, May 10th, at 7 p.m. at Chords Restaurant (Hamra), as part by Nahwa El Muwatinia's Na-am Lil Hiwar (Yes for Dialog) project.

The legal framework and legal shortcomings were thoroughly exposed by Nadim Houry and Kathleen Hamil. Nadim is senior Human Rights Watch researcher for Lebanon and Syria.

Aimée from Madagscared shared with us her personal experience of coming to Lebanon as a migrant domestic worker, her first employment and employer, and her current role as a community leader and her support for Malagasy and other nationalities working as maids in Lebanese homes.

Ali El Amin, former head of the syndicate of housekeepers recruitment agencies, arrived in the middle of the discussion and had a valuable input, talking about the syndicate's attempts to raise the level of awareness of recruitment agencies, and of blacklisting some of the 500+ recruitment agencies in Lebanon.

The attendees also had valuable input as noted in this Daily Star article.

The full videos:

video 1 duration 45:03

video 2 duration 18:16

video 3 duration 32:22

Report: Migrant domestic workers continued to be maltreated in 2009

Findings of the 2009 progress report on the European Neighborhood Policy, an initiative by the Delegation of the European Union aimed at promoting reform in Lebanon, concluded that there was “a lack of progress” across a range of pressing issues. (The Daily Star)

These issues include foreign maids. The report said that
migrant domestic workers continued to be maltreated in 2009. The exact wording of the report which can be found here is:

In January 2009 a decree for the regulation of employment agencies that bring women migrant domestic workers to Lebanon was adopted. A Unified Contract for Migrant Domestic Workers was prepared in February 2009. However, enforcement remains critically weak as cases of exploitation, mistreatment and high rates of unnatural fatalities among women domestic migrant workers continue to be reported.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

NGO organizes public discussion about plight of domestic workers

Wednesday, May 12, 2010, by The Daily Star

BEIRUT: Awareness about the plight of migrant domestic workers has grown but activists are still having trouble arousing the interest of the general public on the issue.

Hoping to attract wider involvement, non-governmental organization Nahwa al-Muwatiniya on Monday held a public discussion on the rights of migrants.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Bengali migrant worker found dead in parking lot

Al-Akhbar newspaper reported today that Bengali migrant worker, Rina Boyati, aged 37, was found dead in a parking lot in Doha Aramoun (Mount Lebanon). Al-Akhbar added that the reports did not indicate any wounds or bruises on her body and that the cause of death was unknown.

العاملة البنغلادشية رينا بوياتي (37 عاماً) وجدت ميتة داخل موقف للسيارات في دوحة عرمون، لم تلفت التقارير إن ظهرت عليها آثار كدمات أو ضربة، وذُكر فقط أن أسباب الوفاة مجهولة.
 عدد السبت ٨ أيار ٢٠١٠
عنوان المصدر 

Friday, May 7, 2010

Public discussion this Monday: ‎Should Domestic Workers be Entitled to a Day Off?

This Monday, May 10th, at 7 p.m. at ‎Chords Restaurant (Makhoul St., Hamra‎), Nahwa El Muwatinia's Hiwar (Dialog) Session will be on the rights of migrant domestic workers.

Speakers include:
  • Mr. Nadim Houry, 24/7 Domestic Worker Campaign Representative and Human Rights Watch senior researcher
  • Ms. Kathleen Hamill, Human Right Lawyer
  • Mr. Walid Temsah, CEO, Tala Tours Employment Agency
  • Ms. Aimee, Community Leader from Madagascar
See you there!!

Facebook event link:

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Campaign urges equal rights for domestic workers

The Daily Star. 05 May 2010

SIN AL-FIL: Employers must respect the rights of migrant domestic workers, Labor Minister Boutros Harb said Tuesday.
Speaking at the launch of a campaign to raise awareness about the plight of migrant workers, Harb said his ministry was “committed” to human rights for all, “irrespective of their gender, color or race.” The campaign, being carried out by Caritas Lebanon Migrant Center, will see a nationwide media campaign advocating equal rights between Lebanese and migrant workers.
Some 200,000 female migrant domestic workers live in Lebanon, mainly from Ethiopia, Sri Lanka and the Philippines.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

حملة كاريتاس: عاملو بعدل بيعاملك من قلبو

04/05/10 17:11
متفرقات - "كاريتاس لبنان" أطلقت مع "كاريتاس لوكسمبورغ" حملة حماية حقوق العامل الاجنبي "عاملو بعدل بيعاملك من قلبو"
الوزير حرب: سنطبق قانون عمل جديدا سيشكل حصانة كبيرة للعمال
الوزارة قررت انشاء عقد موحد للعمال الاجانب ينظم العلاقة معهم
السفير لوران: ما زال وضع العمال المهاجرين في لبنان مصدر قلق

وطنية - 4/5/2010 أطلقت رابطة "كاريتاس لبنان" بالاشتراك مع "كاريتاس لوكسمبورغ" ظهر اليوم، حملة مركز الاجانب لحماية حقوق العامل الاجنبي بعنوان "عاملو بعدل بيعاملك من قلبوا"، برعاية وزير العمل بطرس حرب وحضوره، وبتمويل من الاتحاد الاوروبي، في مقر الادارة المركزية - سن الفيل. وحضر، الى الوزير حرب، وزيرة الدولة منى عفيش، النائب غسان مخيبر، ممثل الاتحاد الاوروبي في لبنان السفير باتريك لوران، سفير اسبانيا خوان كارلوس غافو، رئيس "كاريتاس لبنان" الاب

Ethiopian falls in Antelias وقوع إثيوبية في أنطلياس

Al-Akhbar newspaper reported today the death of Ethiopian maid Wilana Sbsay, who "fell" from the balcony of her employers in Antelias, north of Beirut. According to reports, she threw herself from the balcony.

جريدة الأخبار، عدد الثلاثاء ٤ أيار ٢٠١٠
عند الساعة 8:33 دقيقة، وقعت الإثيوبية ويلانا سبساي من شرفة منزل مشغليها في أنطلياس، ما أدى إلى وفاتها، وجاء في التقارير أنها رمت نفسها من الشرفة.

Monday, May 3, 2010

"كاريتاس" تطلق غدا حملة لحماية حقوق العامل الاجنبي

Caritas Migrant Center is launching a new campaign for the protection of migrant rights in Lebanon, according to a National News Agency brief.

03/05/10 13:00
متفرقات - "كاريتاس" تطلق غدا حملة لحماية حقوق العامل الاجنبي
وطنية - 3/5/2010 - تطلق "كاريتاس - لبنان" بالاشتراك مع "كاريتاس - لوكسمبورغ"، حملة مركز الاجانب لحماية حقوق العامل الاجنبي تحت عنوان "عاملو بعدل بعاملك من قلبو"، برعاية وزير العمل بطرس حرب، وبتمويل من الاتحاد الاوروبي، وذلك في الساعة الثانية عشرة من ظهر يوم غد الثلثاء في مقر الادارة المركزية - سن الفيل - القلعة - شارع الدكتور يوسف حجار. ويتضمن البرنامج كلمات لكل من: "كاريتاس - لبنان"، ممثل بعثة الاتحاد الاوروبي، وزير العمل، ملخص عن "مشروع حماية ودعم العمال الاجانب في لبنان".

The Daily Star: Labor Day march protests ill treatment of domestic workers

The following is The Daily Star article on Labor Day march and protests for the rights of domestic workers. There's little coverage unfortunately in other newspapers because of Sunday's municipal elections. For more campaign coverage:

Labor Day march protests ill treatment of domestic workers
By Richard Hall, Daily Star staff, Monday, May 03, 2010

BEIRUT: Dozens of protesters gathered in Ain al-Mreisseh Square on Saturday to demonstrate against the poor treatment of migrant workers in Lebanon, one of a number of events taking place across the city to mark Labor Day.

“We want all workers to know they are not alone, and there are many people who want to help” said Theresa, a domestic worker from the Philippines taking part in the demonstration.

Protesters marched from Qarantina Bridge to Ain al-Mreisseh square carrying placards and shouting slogans before an outdoor concert was held on the Corniche. Those taking part were a mix of students, migrant workers and sympathetic citizens. An Asian and African food festival was held earlier in the day in an effort to encourage cultural exchange.