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WEEKLY NEWS REPORT: February 1-7, 2021

Sierra Leonean workers evacuated. Photo from Aline Deschamps

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.

Evacuation Updates

More Sierra Leonean Workers Evacuated [here]

15 Sierra Leonean women finally traveled home on February 1 after waiting months for their turns, with the support of Aline Deschamps, journalist who’s been following up with and organizing the online fundraiser with the women. ARM, This is Lebanon also supported with the logistics and coordination with the consulate and general security.

More Ethiopian Workers Evacuated [here] and [here]

Eight Ethiopian women were evacuated on February 1 with the support of Egna Legna Besidet. The Ethiopian consulate also announced that 70 undocumneted women and 2 children were evacuated with the support of an Ethiopian organization.

Other

Video Report on Sierra Leonean Women by AJ+ [here]

A video by AJ+ highlighted reported the stories of several Sierra Leonean women under the Kafala system in Lebanon, emphasizing the abusive practices they were subjected to, in addition to their living conditions after fleeing employers’ houses and sharing an overcrowded apartment in Beirut while waiting to be evacuated.

Detailed Report by Legal Agenda on Kafala under the Pandemic [here]

A study by Legal Agenda reported the changes to the Kafala system in Lebanon under the pandemic and the exacerbation of economic crisis as a result of it, from 3 main aspects: 

  • Visibility of abandonment of migrant domestic workers in the streets and at consulates versus the plight of others behind closed doors;

  • Changes in recruitment agencies;

  • The state’s response: monitoring working conditions by the Ministry of Labor, monitoring residency and living conditions by the General Security (GS).

The report concluded that the GS is likely to implement 3 steps: decreasing number of migrant domestic workers coming to work in Lebanon; assisting families who wish to employ migrant domestic workers and are able to afford it; and lastly decreasing the number of undocumented migrant domestci workers specifically and the number of workers in general in accordance with the changes in the demand for domestic help.

IOM Global Report on Trafficking in Persons [here]

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) published a report on the trafficking in persons globally in 2020. The report on Lebanon compared the number of trafficking cases recorded by the general security between 2014 and 2017, as well as the number of victims between 2015-2017.

Most victims were Syrians and Ethiopians, and the other nationalities included Palestinians and Bangladeshi, in addition to Lebanese victims who were trafficked domestically.

MoL and IOM Discuss Vaccination Mechanism for Migrant Workers [here]

Caretaker minister of labor Lamia Yammine met with the head of the IOM in Lebanon to discuss a mechanism to vaccinate migrant workers, and the possibility of having a signed agreement between the two entities.

Yammine also noted the urgency of continuing the evacuation of migrant workers who wish to leave Lebanon.

MoL Calls for Inclusion of Migrant Workers in Vaccination [here] 

Caretaker minister of labor Lamia Yammine released a memo on February 1 recommending the vaccination of all employers as well as Lebanese and migrant workers in all sectors, as per the prioritization of the ministry of public health.