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Weekly News Report: November 8-14, 2021

Protest by Lebanese mothers, photo from Almodon

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.

Ras Baalbeck Municipality Issues Racist Circular against Syrian Residents then Backs out Partially [here], [here] and [here]

The municipality of Ras Baalbeck issued a racist circular of 4 decisions targeting Syrian residents on November 10, which was later retracted from its Facebook page. The circular included the following points:

  • Wages for Syrian workers are capped at 40,000 LBP for shifts from 8am-3pm;

  • Wages for domestic workers are capped at 10,000 LBP/hour;

  • Syrian residents are forbidden from having visitors who are not town residents;

  • A curfew would be imposed for Syrians from 7pm-6am.

The municipality posted a new circular on November 12 that cited the economic crisis, removing the last 2 points and amending the first two as follows:

  • Wages for Syrian and Lebanese workers are capped at 60,000 LBP for shifts from 8am-3pm;

  • Wages for domestic workers are capped at 15,000 LBP/hour.

The initial circular did not state reasons, however a spokesperson from the municipality made false allegations by justifying to L’Orient today that the decisions were made “as Syrian workers are already getting international aid, and are paid in dollars every day from foreign funds, and the curfew and visitors rule was set as a measurement to reduce the rate of thefts happening in the area.”

Ethiopian Woman’s Baby Switched in a Beirut Hospital [here]

A baby from an Ethiopian mother and a Lebanese father was switched with a Lebanese one in Bitar hospital, Sad el Bauchrieh in Beirut; as revealed in the TV show Fawda. The parents discovered this after receiving a call from the hospital asking them to bring the baby to receive the vaccine, although the hospital staff had vaccinated her the day before. After going, the nurse gave a different baby and the father did a DNA test, whose results remain in the custody of the hospital that has been refusing to give them to the family.

The parents suspect the shady interaction of the hospital staff may indicate this was intended to serve a plan for human trafficking.

Report on Situation of Children of Lebanese Mother and Non-Lebanese Fathers [here]

An article on Almodon reported the plight of children of Lebanese mothers and non-Lebanese fathers in the context of the ongoing crisis. The following points were emphasized:

  • Lebanese mothers cannot transfer their non-Lebanese children to public schools since the latter prioritize Lebanese students;

  • Several private hospitals impose payment in USD on non-Lebanese patients, which poses a great concern to their Lebanese mothers;

  • Comprehensive and recent data on non-Lebanese men married to Lebanese women, as well as the number of children, remain lacking. A source from the General Security told Almodon that the number of children and their non-Lebanese fathers with courtesy residency permits (إقامة مجاملة) is around 90,000; compared to 21,796 in 2017;

  • Many institutions do not give pensions or compensations to non-Lebanese workers with Lebanese mothers after laying them off;

  • Recently, a PhD student was not allowed to present his dissertation after being asked to pay his full tuition in USD;

  • Children of Lebanese mothers studying abroad were excluded from evacuation flights to Lebanon during the first wave of COVID-19 last year;

  • Lebanese nationality is granted solely to individuals who have money and investments in the country.

Racist Report on Hourly Wages of Domestic Workers [here]

An article on Lebanon24 reported that the hourly wages of domestic workers increased from 5,000-7,000 LBP last year to 30,000 LBP this year; implying that daily wages made by migrant domestic workers would exceed those of Lebanese workers.

Syrians in Marj Bisri To be Evicted by End of Month [here]

Syrian workers and residents in Marj Bisri were notified by the police they would need to leave their tents by the end of this month, following a judicial decision by the Public Prosecution at the Court of Cassation. In contrast, Lebanese workers were not included in the decision to evacuate the area.

The judicial decision was based on a racist report by the General Security which stated that “130 Syrian workers lived unsupervised in 20 agricultural tents on state premises where they stole electricity, cut trees and received aid from organizations.”

Sources told Al Akhbar newspaper that this decision is politically motivated and intends to impose the dam project again. Activists in the Lebanese Eco-Movement stated that the trees were cut by the contractor of the dam project and denounced the populist hate speech against the Syrian workers.

Labor Minister Meets with IOM [here]

Labor minister Moustafa Bayram met with representatives from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) where they emphasized the need to collaborate for the protection of migrant workers.