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Weekly News Report: October 11-17, 2021

Togolese workers evacuated

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.

Report by ARM on Situation of Migrant Domestic Workers in 2020 [here]

ARM’s executive director contributed to a detailed report on the different ways the subsequent crises impacted migrant domestic workers (MDWs) in 2020 as part of the UNDP’s “Peace Building in Lebanon” News Supplement. The following points were emphasized with regards to migrant domestic workers and the Kafala system in Lebanon:

  • ARM alone received hundreds of cases of unpaid wages and labor exploitation. After inspection and follow up, it turned out that too many households had not been paying the salaries for months and for years, and were hence using the economic crisis as an excuse.

  • State and governmental entities did not intervene once to protect migrant domestic workers and hold employees accountable for the violations they committed, from abandoning the migrant women at embassies and in the streets, to rampant labor exploitation and mistreatment.

  • The socio-economic crisis and the aftermath of the pandemic impacted live-in domestic workers and live-out freelance MDWs in different ways and on different levels: job loss due to lockdowns and decreased working hours; savings lost value with the devaluation of the Lebanese pound and were spent on basic needs; severe poverty; exploitative and manipulative work conditions; severe psychological distress and trauma; among several other results.

  • Being stuck in Lebanon as a result of confiscation of passports and papers by employers and/or sponsors; high expenses of tickets and PCR tests; closure of airports.

  • Lack of sufficient political and individual will as an obstacle in the struggle against Kafala. 

Migrant Chef Residency Back at Demo Bar [here]

As part of the Migrant Chef Residency, Demo Bar is hosting Nepali cuisine this week. Other cuisines will be announced on the event page on Facebook.

More Migrants Evacuated [source is ARM]

Over the past 3 months, ARM has been working on facilitating the evacuation of Forty migrant workers to Bangladesh, Benin, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Togo.

Report on Exclusion of Migrants and Refugees from Vaccine Drives [here]

An article on L’Orient Today reported on the unofficial exclusion of migrants and refugees from vaccination drives in hospitals. A number of Syrian refugees were interviewed and stated that they were denied the vaccine after receiving a message for an appointment because their residency permits were not valid or renewed.

Notably, this denial to receive the vaccine dose was enacted by nurses and hospital staff -not following an official policy- for the purpose of verifying that the person was indeed living in the country. 

However, one hospital staff interviewed stated that this was abiding to a circular issued by the Ministry of Public Health to hospitals which was only applicable for a short while. This contradicts the  statement mentioned above, made by several other employees at different hospitals about the lack of an official policy requiring valid residency.