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Weekly News Report: May 24-30, 2021

Kenyan woman receiving the vaccine on May 29 in Beirut

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 who cater to migrant communities.

Note: We are dedicating our social media platforms to share updates on the attacks of the Israeli occupation forces on Palestinians in different cities and locations mostly on Twitter and on Instagram. A list of resources* where you can track updates and developments is available at the end of this report. We will be updating it regularly to add new resources we come across.

IOM Report on Increasing Crisis Impact on Migrant Workers [here]

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) released a report on the results of a needs assessment for migrant workers, conducted between October 2020 and February 2021. The report focused on the impact of the consecutive crises on migrant workers, and found the following results:

  • 50% of the migrants surveyed are unemployed, most of whom lost their jobs in the last quarter of 2020

  • More than 50% are unable to meet food needs

  • Around half of respondents are in a vulnerable housing position, facing threats of evictions or living in unsafe conditions

  • At least 20% have medical problems, 

  • Around 50% want to be evacuated to their home countries but are unable to do so given the financial obstacles

  • Many reported being subjected to different forms of abuse, exploitation and harassment

Report on Impact of Migrant Workers’ Evacuation [here]

A video by MTV on the evacuation of migrant workers reported the gap in the sectors employing them, emphasizing the uncertainty of being replaced by Lebanese workers. A researcher from Information International explained the reasons for the decrease in the number of migrant workers in 2020 from around 400,000 to around 230,000, and highlighted the big gap in domestic work.

The report concludes that the various sectors should not be constrained to certain nationalities and claims that otherwise dollars would still be drained by remittances of migrant workers.

Report on Online Post Offering Migrant Workers for Sale [here]

A video by LBCI reported on the online posts selling migrant domestic workers mainly in Facebook groups, and included testimonies of employers who claimed the intention was not to “sell” the worker but to have her go to another employer given their inability to pay salaries in USD.

The report explained the process of transferring (tanezol تنازل) a domestic worker’s sponsorship to another employer, and emphasized this is still considered a form of trafficking, even with the consent of the worker and even if the process is legal.

According to the ministry of labor, none of the employers faced legal charges since they abided by the ministry’s instructions to remove the posts. 

In response to LBCI telling the MoL that even the legal tanazol process is very similar to buying and selling workers, MoL said that they are working on eliminating this gradually.

Walk-in Vaccine Drives Launched, Undocumented Workers yet to be included [here]

Walk-in vaccination started this past weekend for people above 30 years old to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine. Many documented migrant workers went and got vaccinated, but it remains uncertain when undocumented migrants with no papers will be able to receive it.

Ethiopian Women Imprisoned in Syria are Back Home [here]

Five Ethiopian women who were imprisoned in Syria for 9 months were finally released and evacuated to Ethiopia. They were jailed for crossing the Lebanese-Syrian border to reach Turkey, and the agents who coordinated their trip took the money and abandoned them. 

They traveled home with the support of Egna Legna Besidet.

Egna Legna Besidet Launches Health Services for Migrant Women [here]

Egna Legna Besidet announced they have started providing health services to migrant women and their children in Lebanon including family planning and health education, among other things. To inquire more about the services, they can be contacted on 81688305.

More Ethiopians Evacuated [here] 

103 undocumented Ethiopian workers were evacuated on May 29, many of whom had been facing legal charges by employers.

FENASOL Holds General Assembly for Migrant Workers [here]

The National Federation of Employees’ and Workers’ Union in Lebanon (FENASOL) held a general assembly on May 24 to address the living and health conditions of migrant workers in the context of the economic crisis. Migrant attendees demanded the abolishment of the Kafala system and the payment of due wages by employers, and addressed the delay in vaccinating migrants.

*Resources for instant updates and news on Palestine: