Saturday, February 25, 2012

A road map for replacing ‘kafala’ system for migrant workers

(Arabic follows English - العربي يلي الإجليزي)

The Daily Star on February 25, 2012 - BEIRUT: A draft proposal to replace the sponsorship system for migrant domestic workers in Lebanon was introduced by the rights organization KAFA (enough) Violence & Exploitation Friday, with outgoing Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas giving his full support to the initiative.
The comprehensive policy paper outlines the main problems arising from the sponsorship, or “kafala,” system, and suggests recommendations

Thursday, February 23, 2012

خادمة سريلانكية قتلت مخدومتها

A Sri Lankan domestic worker killed her employer, a 70 year old woman in Bourj Brajneh today. She was arrested by the prosecutor's office. (National News Agency)
وطنية - 23/2/2012 - أفاد المندوب الأمني ل "الوكالة الوطنية للاعلام" الياس شاهين أن خادمة سري لانكية أقدمت صباح اليوم على قتل مخدومتها نعمت منذر (والدتها وحيدة - مواليد 1942) بعدما ضربتها، داخل منزلها في برج البراجنة قرب حسينية الرمل العالي، بحوض للأزهار مرات عدة ما أفقدها الوعي، فطعنتها طعنات عدة بالسكين.
وقد أوقفت السريلانكية بناء على إشارة النيابة العامة.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The System Ejects Charbel Nahas

In the negotiations period leading to the formation of the current government, my PhD supervisor confided that he had been "offered" by Nabih Berri the post of the Ministry of Labor, but that he had refused it. In the words of my supervisor, "there's nothing you can do in this ministry. I don't want it.". I got upset and thought I just missed my chance to become the adviser on migrant domestic work to the ministry of Labor.

Charbel Nahas proved that my dear professor was wrong. There's a lot you can do and that needs to be done in the Ministry of Labor. But if your try hard, you are bound to collide with political feudal "higher" interests.

I believe that reform of domestic worker was one of those areas where Charbel Nahas, in order to secure the rights and dignity of local and foreign domestic worker, had threatened the economic interest of many who profit on the kafala sponsorship system. But it was the "controversial" decree governing the transportation allowance that was the last straw.

For the Lebanese corrupt governance system, Charbel Nahas is a virus that has to be ejected out.

Now that Charbel Nahas has submitted his resignation (to Aoun, head of reform block; it seems that it has not been submitted to the council of ministers and therefor not in effect yet), I can only hope that his possible successor pursues the reform of domestic work in Lebanon as envisioned by Nahas.

Wissam al-Saliby, Ethiopian Suicides

تحقيق جريدة النهار: في لبنان 400 ألف عامل أجنبي أي أكثر من 10% من اللبنانيين

يعبرون جسورا للحياة، هرباً من جوع في بلادهم الفقيرة، ليدركهم قدرهم في غربة عن أرضهم. يلهثون وراء لقمة العيش في لبنان، فإذ بأنفاسهم تُخطف، مرة في السماء ومرات تحت الأنقاض... تضيع رفاتهم في مياه البحر المتوسط ويحاصرون تحت تربة طالما عملوا على نهوضها عمرانياً.

إنهم العمال الأجانب في لبنان، من أثيوبيين وسودانيين ومصريين وفيلبينيين وسري لانكيين... وغيرهم، يعملون ليل نهار عند مخدوميهم، وقد يموتون في الغربة ولا يستطيعون الحصول على أدنى حقوقهم.
يضعهم القدر، أيضاً، مع قضاء

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sri Lankan commits suicide in Jdeideh

February 19, 2012, The Daily Star

BEIRUT: A twenty-eight-year-old Sri Lankan woman committed suicide in the Jdeideh area in the Metn region.

An autopsy report by a medical examiner revealed the body had not been subjected to violence.

Police had earlier filed a report on the death, indicating that the woman used a blanket to hang herself in the janitor's room in the Santa Maria building.

Migrant domestic workers develop survival techniques amid harsh conditions

Not all domestic workers are allowed outside their employers’ homes and when they are it’s often to perform tiring duties.
February 11, 2012, By Annie Slemrod, The Daily Star

BEIRUT: Last week, an Ethiopian domestic worker named Paltishi Hendor was found hanging by women’s socks in her employer’s house in Ghazir, Kesrouan. Last month, the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper reported on Lila Aacharya, a Nepalese woman who was trafficked into Lebanon and found dangling out of a balcony window near Beirut.

And in January alone, three Nepalese domestic workers committed suicide, according to a source at the Nepalese Consulate.

Despite their terrible frequency, the details of these deaths often remain unreported – except in Aacharya’s case, whose ordeal caused a

Bangladeshi Women Workers in Lebanon: Sorry tale of torture, abuse

The Daily Star (Bangladesh), Saturday, February 11, 2012

She had long been dreaming of leading a decent life.
In May last year she flew to Lebanon to take up the job of a maidservant as a way of making her dreams come true.
But within a few days on the job, 22-year-old Hasina Begum's dreams turned into nightmares.
Her employer, a young lonely Lebanese landlord, demanded from her

تحقيق عن العاملات الأجنبيات في لبنان - رياض قبيسي

A December 2011 report on New TV (Aljadeed) on migrant domestic workers in Lebanon.

وقد فاز رياض قبيسي مراسل قناة "الجديد" عن تحقيقه عن أحوال العاملات الأجنبيات في لبنان في المرتبة الثالثة بجائزة الصحافي المتقصي لعام 2011  من مؤسسة ثومسون البريطانية

Monday, February 6, 2012

MTV comes under attack for airing racially charged program

The Daily Star on February 06, 2012, by Stephen Dockery
With additional reporting by Dana Khraiche

 BEIRUT: Racially charged programing targeting migrant domestic workers has critics leveling new charges of racism at the popular but controversial Murr Television station.

In a recent skit on the station’s comedy program ‘Ktir Salbe,’ a couple asks an agent for a new maid with qualifications such as “servant,”

Minister of Labor, Charbel Nahas, confirms working to abrogate Kafala sponsorship system

In an interview with Al-Akhbar newspaper today, Minister of Labor, Charbel Nahas, confirmed working to abrogate the Kafala sponsorship system and to put an end to the horrific and degrading situation domestic workers are currently living in.
هناك أيضاً جهود للخروج من الحالة الشنيعة المهينة التي يعيشها العمال المنزليّون، لا بد من إلغاء نظام الكفيل وضمان حقوقهم كاملة

Saturday, February 4, 2012

MOU on Philippine workers won’t resolve key problems: rights group

The Daily Star, February 04, 2012, by Emma Gatten

BEIRUT: A memorandum of understanding and accompanying protocol signed between Lebanon and the Philippines doesn’t provide a solution to the problems facing migrant domestic workers in the country, a Human Rights Watch official said Friday.

“It’s a band-aid for one specific

Activists to MTV: Racism is not funny

Angie Nassar from Now Lebanon on the reactions to MTV's Ktir Salbe racism scandal


“I can’t think of anything lower than this. I don’t know where we are going,” said Farah Salka, who works with the Anti-Racist Movement in Lebanon, in response to the Ktir Salbe video. “The main problem is that people don’t see these workers as human beings, and this is the best example: they’re making fun of them dying.”

“There is a very thin line between being stupid and being funny and MTV just doesn’t get the difference,” said Wissam al-Saliby from the Ethiopian Suicides blog. “And

Filipino Labor Secretary Sees Lifting of Filipino Workers Ban in Lebanon

BEIRUT—Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz on Wednesday signed two agreements here to protect the rights of overseas Filipino workers in Lebanon and pave the way for the lifting of the total deployment ban on OFWs coming to the country.
Baldoz said the agreements she signed with Lebanese Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas would also lead to a Department of Foreign Affairs

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Ethiopian suicide today in Gazir, Keserouan

Several media sources reported today that the body of Ethiopian domestic worker Paltishi Hendor, born in 1989, was found in the home of her employer, Rami Abou Khalil in Gazir, Keserouan (Maroun Seba building, 3rd floor). She was hanging from her neck in women's socks. Jounieh police is investigating.

وطنية - 2/2/2012 - افاد المندوب الامني ل"الوكالة الوطنية للاعلام" الياس شاهين، انه في بلدة غادير في قضاء كسروان بناية سابا مارون الطابق الثالث، وداخل منزل المواطن (ر.ا.خ) عثر على الاثيوبية بالتيشي هندور - من مواليد 1989/، جثة وهي معلقة من عنقها بجوارب نسائية وبدأت فصيلة جونية تحقيقاتها لمعرفة الملابسات.

وزير العمل شربل نحاس وقع مذكرة تفاهم تحدد الإطار الناظم لعمل الفليبينيين في الخدمة المنزلية

Labor minister Charbel Nahas signed with his Filipino counterpart Rosalinda Paldoz a memorandum of understanding and a protocol regulating the arrival and employment of Filipino domestic workers in Lebanon.

وقع وزير العمل شربل نحاس ونظيرته الفليبينية روزاليندا بالدوز في وزارة العمل مذكرة تفاهم وبروتوكولا يتعلقان بتنظيم استقدام وتوظيف العاملين الفليبينيين في الخدمة المنزلية الى لبنان في حضور مدير عام الوزارة بالإنابة عبدالله رزوق وسفيرة الفليبين في لبنان ليا رويز وكبار الموظفين في السفارة والوفد المرافق للوزيرة الفليبينية.

وشكرت بالدوز نحاس والوزارة على "ما بذلاه من جهد من اجل الوصول الى هذه المذكرة"، مؤكدة "رغبة الفليبين في قيام احسن العلاقات مع لبنان".

بدوره شكر نحاس نظيرته والسفارة الفليبينية "للجهد الذي بذل لإنجاز هذه الخطوة الكبيرة التي ترجمت بتوقيع مذكرة التفاهم والبروتوكول الذي يحدد الاطار الناظم لعمل

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Massive uproar against yet another Lebanon MTV (Murr TV) racist show

It was meant to be funny. And I thought that the first reactions against the video I saw on Facebook were activist exaggerations. Because we are supposed to be able to make fun of our human rights challenges and violations. And humor can be a good advocacy tool.

But the Lebanese TV, Murr TV, yet again crossed ethical and moral red lines. Their comedy show, "Ktir Salbe" produced a trashy sexually explicit video in which migrant domestic workers are dehumanized and objectified to the point where the person playing the role of the recruitment agency representative responded to the couple seeking a domestic worker: "Do you think that I am a pimp?". The "husband" at the end of the video suggested that to the recruiter "to shove up his *** the broomstick that their last maid had used before she jumped from the balcony".

Facebook, Twitter and Youtube comments are those disdain and condemnation. This is the post by the Anti-Racism Movement. (18+) on the issue. Some on the Internet called for shutting down MTV again.

This comes after a previous Murr TV report that we reported on previously, on the "invasion of perverted migrants" of Bourj Hammoud (North Beirut Suburb).

In the caption under the video, we read "Ktir Salbe" - Monday 8:30 PM on MTV Lebanon - Written By Jiscar Lahoud & Nabil Assaf Directed by Hani Khashfeh.

Someone needs to tell these persons, as well as Murr TV staff and managers, of the existence of media ethics.

Wissam al-Saliby, Ethiopian Suicides.

The following is the video. In Arabic. Recommended 18 years and up.

And these are some of the social media reactions:

On Youtube:
  • we are in 2011 you racist Lebanese!