UN special rapporteur Gulnara Shahinian is in Lebanon this week to assess government initiatives designed to prevent domestic servitude. Shahinian is the first independent UN expert to monitor contemporary forms of slavery in the country.
“This is a positive step. Hopefully it will lead to the implementation of the needed reforms,” says Nadim Houry, Beirut director of Human Rights Watch (HRW). “People now recognise that many forms of contemporary slavery take place in Lebanon. It is no longer a secret.”
“By turning a blind eye to violations affecting domestic workers, Lebanon’s police and judiciary are complicit in the ongoing violations by employers against this vulnerable group,” said Houry when the report was presented. “Locking someone up or slapping them is a crime regardless of the identity of the victim.”