أغسطس 19, 2022
Articles and views shared in the Weekly News Report do not necessarily 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 that cater to migrant communities.
The Honorary Consulate of Kenya has been reportedly targeting migrant activists. Circumstantial evidence suggests that NM’s arrest initially had to do with her activism during the protests earlier in 2022 against the Kenyan Honorary Consulate.
Earlier in February, a representative of the Consulate defamed activists in a فيديو report. After the closure of the consular office in Badaro without further information, and the disappearance of the Kenyan consul and his assistant, the general security arrested NM based on claims she was later acquitted of, and a representative of the consulate threatened her.
Kassem Jaber, assistant to the consul of Kenya in Lebanon, gave conflicting information about NM to media outlets, saying that NM “refused the consulate’s help,” while also claiming that he “hasn’t seen or spoken to NM since January 2022.”
These statements contradict each other as they imply that Kassem is offering help without being in touch with NM, which is false.
Furthermore, Kassem claimed that his lawyer has “tried to get in touch with ARM about this case by calling them 17 or 18 times,” which is untrue.
More information and updates will be shared on our social media outlets as they become publicly available.
Legal Agenda’s Model Pleading for False Theft Claims Against Migrant Workers Serves as a Guide for Legal Representatives in Court [here]
Legal Agenda reshared their model pleading titled “How to Defend a Migrant Worker Against Theft Accusations?” The document highlights important pleas that can be used in court to defend migrant domestic workers who are falsely accused of theft, which employers commonly do in order to cut or avoid paying their salaries.
It also offers a response to the use of the word “escape,” in reference to migrant domestic workers who leave their employer’s workplace, as a criminal accusation, which has no legal basis.
For more details, click هنا to read the full report.
The Municipality of Tripoli joins Beirut municipalities in their discrimination against Syrian refugees and migrant workers. On August 10, 2022 the municipality issued a statement warning non-Lebanese vendors to cease their activities and remove their carts from the streets, under penalty of confiscation and legal action.
The warning only targeted Syrian and migrant cart vendors, claiming that this “phenomena” indirectly affects Lebanese workers and stakeholders.
Furthermore, the municipality called these unlawful procedures a part of a campaign to promote tourism and urban development in Tripoli, and urged citizens to “support” this campaign to “reveal the true face of Tripoli and eliminate violations.”
Annahar posted a picture showing El Tal square in Tripoli as empty, with the exception of Lebanese vendors, claiming that the square used to be “crowded, blocking pedestrians.”
Meanwhile, the municipality’s employees are “currently on strike for the second day to demand the payment of their wages.” The municipality presents itself to be in favor of Lebanese workers through discrimnation, instead of actually paying its employees.
The bread shortage crisis is expected to temporarily ease, following a loan agreement of $150 million from the World Bank to import wheat, which President Michel Aoun recently signed. Subsequently, discourse in the media that blames Syrian refugees seems to reflect this news.
For example, Lebanon24 claimed that Syrian migrants buy and consume more bread than Lebanese people “even though the bread crisis is over.” Such claims implicitly blame refugees for the bread shortage, despite the crisis supposedly stabilizing.
Furthermore, the framing of bread shortage as an issue of supply and demand, and blaming Syrian refugees for supposedly demanding more than Lebanese people , reinforces racist attitudes towards Syrians, and scapegoats them for the shortage of basic amenities.
In contrast, LBC aired a report saying that Syrian refugees, wrongfully referred to as migrants, are not the reason behind the bread shortage, instead, the blame is on cartels that exploited subsidies, either by hiding or smuggling subsidized goods, to make profit. The report did say that Syrians have placed pressure on the economy, but clarified that Syrians existed before, and after, the bread shortage crisis, and therefore aren’t blamed.
Lastly, BBC released an article highlighting key moments during the bread shortage crisis, including statements, tweets and figures.
Minister of the Displaced Issam Charafeddine prepares for his visit to Syria, which he expects to happen next week. The purpose of the visit is to discuss a plan between the Lebanese and Syrian government to deport Syrian refugees, wrongfully referred to as “migrants.”
Media outlets shared a few statements from officials, as well as opinion articles regarding the aforementioned visit and plan. These statements, taken from meetings and interviews, provide some insight to the approaches of the Lebanese and Syrian governments towards Syrian refugees.
For example, Charafeddine was “optimistic” about working alongside the Syrian government. “I can’t promise to permanently solve the [Syrian] migrants problem,” he said, “but it’s important to get things on track.”
He was also quoted saying that he got the approval for the plan to send “16,000 [Syrian] migrants a month,” which contradicts with previous statements about the plan targeting 15,000 Syrian refugees. It’s unclear whether this was a misquote or not.
Additionally, President Michel Aoun noted that the Lebanese army received support from the UK to “build watchtowers alongside the Eastern and Northern borders to monitor illegal entry.”
As for opinion pieces, an article in Nidaa Al Watan claimed that the Syrian regime was “the biggest obstacle” in the way of sending Syrian refugees to Syria. For the Syrian government, the article claims, the return of Syrian refugees is a way to “pressure Lebanon into normalizing the relationship between both countries,” and that the regime has not made any “practical effort to bring back its citizens.” This contradicts numerous previous statements by officials about the Syrian government supposedly easing security measures.
On the other hand, an article by GrandLB titled “Deportation of Syrians… A Demonic Desire or a Necessity?” criticized the plan, the normalization with the Syrian government, as well as the racist narrative in the media regarding refugees.