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Weekly News Report: April 26-May 2, 2021

Ethiopian workers evacuated. Photo from Ethiopian consulate

Articles and views shared in the Weekly News Report do not represent ARM’s views. Information in these articles has not been fact-checked by ARM and may contain some errors. ARM is simply compiling all news relevant to migrant communities to inform our advocacy efforts and to facilitate the work of organizations who cater to migrant communities.

 

More Ethiopian Workers Evacuated [here]

Ninety six Ethiopian workers and 6 children were evacuated to Addis Ababa last week, and 6 Sudanese migrant workers travelled home as well.

MoL Issues Circular on Vaccinating Domestic Workers [here]

Caretaker minister of labor (MoL) Lamia Yammine issued a circular on April 26 asking employers to register domestic workers for the COVID-19 vaccine through the government’s Impact platform.

Report by MTV on Crisis Impact on Domestic Workers [here]

A report by MTV on the impact of the economic crisis on the sector of domestic work claimed that the salaries of the domestic worker have become higher than the employers’ in many cases, adding that the salaries are being paid in USD cash. 

The head of the Syndicate of Recruitment Agencies in Lebanon (SORAL) stated that more than 3,000 people work in recruitment agencies, many of which closed or stopped working. He also added that payment of salaries should be done in USD as stated in the contract.

Report by LBCI on Evacuation of Migrant Workers [here]

A report by LBCI released numbers related to the evacuation of migrant workers from Lebanon due to the dollar shortage and deterioration of their living conditions. The following numbers were cited:

  • 143,000 work permits were renewed in 2020 compared to 203,000 in 2019

  • 11,000 new work permits were issued in 2020 compared to 43,000 in 2019, a drop by 37.3%

  • Around half of undocumented workers, estimated to be 100,000-150,000, left in 2020

  • The total number of migrant workers, both documented and undocumented, who left in 2020 is around 170,000; a decrease from around 400,000 in 2019 to around 230,000 in 2020. The report added that 170,000 are now available for Lebanese people in domestic work, gas stations, agriculture, and factories among other sectors

Report by Al Akhbar on Lebanese Workers Replacing Evacuated Migrants [here]

An article by Al Akhbar reported on the replacement of evacuated migrant workers by Lebanese workers in 2 cleaning companies. After said companies announced vacant positions, many Lebanese people applied to work but few ended up staying due to the tiring nature of the job according to the manager of Ramco. Other reasons included the long working hours, low salaries, and social stigma around the job.

New Documentary on Ethiopian Woman’s Experience [here]

Vice Arabia released a new short documentary on Mekdes, an Ethiopian domestic worker and MCC member, narrating her experience with her former employer since coming to Lebanon.

Video on Abuse of Two Domestic Workers by Employer [here]

Kafa Organization released a video of the testimonies of 2 domestic workers who were abused by the same employer while working together for 9 months. The abuse included verbal and physical aggression, refusing to pay salaries, confiscating their belongings and medicine, and feeding them expired food.

Three Migrant Women Tell their Experiences and Hopes to Work without Kafala [here]

Two Ethiopian women and an Ivorian woman talked to ARM for Labor Day about their experiences after arriving in Lebanon compared to the expectations and promises they were given about the work they’d do. They also talk about potential alternatives if Kafala were abolished in terms of regulating domestic work and negotiating conditions with employers.

Report by Megaphone on Exploitation of Migrant Workers in Numbers [here]

Megaphone released a video explaining the profits made from exploiting male migrant workers in various sectors in Lebanon, emphasizing the trafficking aspect of the recruitment process by Lebanese mediators who coordinate their entry to the country and often deceive the migrants as to the nature of the job and the salary. Workers often end up arriving in Lebanon to find that there is no job and the sponsor was in fact a shadow sponsor.

The profits were reported as follows:

  • A revenue of over 60million USD was made for the Lebanese state in 2019 (MoL, General Security, Housing Bank) through the entry of new migrant workers

  • Over 16million USD was paid to mediators who facilitate the entry of migrants to Lebanon and are often unknown and unlicensed

  • Mediators usually charge between 500-6,000 USD per person for the ticket, pre-approved work permit, and the 1,000 USD to be deposited by the supposed sponsor at the Housing Bank (at the official exchange rate)

New Report by FNF on Kafala [here]

Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF) released a new report on the Kafala system in Lebanon emphasizing the unequal power dynamics between migrant domestic workers and employers, specifically in the context of the current economic crisis.

Report by Lebanon24 on Abuse of Domestic Workers [here]

An article by Lebanon24 reported the case of a domestic worker named Safia, who was evacuated from Lebanon after agreeing with the employer to send her the remainder of her unpaid salary.

The director of the ministry of labor (MoL) stated that it was difficult to pursue cases of unpaid wages legally because non-payment was due to the economic situation, and not to the intention by the employers to exploit migrant domestic workers.

Updates on Dismembered Migrant Worker Found on April 10 [here]

An article by Legal Agenda reported from security sources that the murder of the agladeshi dismembered woman is allegedly an “honor crime” by the husband, adding that he will be transferred to the Public Prosecutor in Baabda to face trial.

The article stated that this contradicts the presumption of innocence, as it is unknown whether or not a lawyer and a translator were present in the interrogation.