Yemen Cabinet, UN envoy condemn Houthi attack

Shards of glass and a door that came off following an attack on the UN De-escalation and Coordination Committee building in Dhahran on Monday. (SPA)
Updated 01 February 2017
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Yemen Cabinet, UN envoy condemn Houthi attack

ADEN: The targeting of the UN De-escalation and Coordination Committee building in Dhahran Al-Janoub by Houthi militias and troops loyal to deposed President Ali Abdullah Saleh is a clear expression of their violent tactics and of lack of respect for the international community, said the Yemeni Cabinet.
According to the Yemeni news agency SABA, Tuesday’s Cabinet statement accused the coup militia of continuing to disrupt the work of the coordination committee and of refusing to begin cease-fire talks that would eventually end the war it ignited, playing the destabilizing and destructive Iranian game.
In the statement, the Cabinet said the coup militia will continue to act in a manner that destabilizes the country, including by targeting naval vessels and using the Hodeidah port for military purposes as long as the international community allows it to get away with its refusal to implement its binding, explicit and clear decisions designed to put an end to the coup and restore the legitimate government.
The legitimate government of Yemen and the Yemeni people condemn the horrible criminal act that targeted the UN building housing its staff, which is a violation of all humanitarian and international covenants and norms, said the statement.
The government had warned the UN and the international community against the intentions of Houthi and Saleh militias, which refuse to comply with UN resolutions and the popular will in Yemen, which rejects the coup.
The Cabinet reiterated that attacks such as Tuesday’s expose the terrorist nature of the militias and the Iranian sectarian project whose ambitions exceed the Yemeni borders.
The statement called for the restoration of the legitimate government, an end to the coup and the application of the terms of reference agreed upon with local and international stakeholders for a political solution as suggested in the Gulf initiative, of the recommendations of the National Dialogue and of Security Council Resolution 2216.
Meanwhile, UN special envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Sheikh condemned the attack on the UN building, which he described as “tragic and is not a sign of good faith.”
In a statement, Ould Sheikh said the attack took place “at a time when we are calling for a new cessation of hostilities,” adding that the building attacked by the militias was to host the committee that will oversee the cessation of hostilities and report on violations.
He also said that the UN maintains a regular presence in that building and urged the Houthi and Saleh’s rebel militias to commit to and support the De-escalation and Coordination Committee’s work toward a renewed cease-fire.
Ould Sheikh said that the warring parties in Yemen can only benefit from a rapid and long-lasting cessation of hostilities, stressing that an improvement in the security situation is bound to give space to dialogue.
In his last week’s briefing of the Security Council, Ould Sheikh said that those who seek a military solution in Yemen are only prolonging the suffering of the people and allowing the terrorist threat to increase, which adds to the challenges and will delay recovery after the war ends.
He also said that the two warring parties need the political courage and will to stop the two-year-old war.


Amnesty urges Lebanon to help end domestic worker abuse

An Asian domestic worker walks her employer's dog in the Lebanese capital of Beirut, on April 23, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 10 min 25 sec ago
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Amnesty urges Lebanon to help end domestic worker abuse

  • Ethiopia and the Philippines have banned their citizens from domestic work in Lebanon, but still their citizens find ways to come

BEIRUT: Amnesty International on Wednesday urged Lebanon to end what it described as an “inherently abusive” migration sponsorship system governing the lives of tens of thousands of foreigners working in private homes.
Domestic workers in Lebanon are excluded from the labor law, and instead obtain legal residency though their employers’ sponsorship under the so-called “kafala” system.
But activists say this leaves the maids, nannies and carers at the mercy of their employers and unable to leave without their permission, including in numerous documented cases of abuse.
“Amnesty International is calling on the Lebanese authorities to end the kafala system and extend labor protections to migrant domestic workers,” the London-based rights group said.
“The Lebanese parliament should amend the labor law to include domestic workers under its protection,” including to allow them to join unions, the group said.
Lebanon hosts more than 250,000 registered domestic workers from countries in Africa and Asia, the vast majority of them women.
In a report released Wednesday titled “Their house is my prison,” Amnesty surveyed 32 domestic workers employed mostly in and around Beirut, revealing “alarming patterns of abuse.”
Among them, 10 women said they were not allowed to leave their employer’s house, with some saying they were locked in.
Twenty-seven said their employers had confiscated their passports.
Many worked overtime, 14 were not allowed a single day off each week, and several had their monthly salaries revoked or decreased, despite it being a breach of their contracts.
The labor ministry introduced a standard contract for domestic workers in 2009, but the forms are often written in Arabic, a language they cannot read.
The government in late 2018 said it had translated the contracts into several other languages.
Amnesty registered eight cases of forced labor and four of human trafficking, the report said.
Six reported severe physical abuse, while almost all had been subjected to humiliating treatment and several were deprived of food.
“Sometimes I would get so hungry... I used to mix water with sugar when I was hungry and drink it,” one worker said.
With the abuse taking a toll on their mental health, six said they had contemplated or attempted suicide.
Only four of those interviewed had private rooms, while the rest were relegated to living rooms, storage rooms, kitchens or balconies.
“There is a man in the house who can enter the living room any time he wants,” said one worker who was forced to sleep in the living room.
Activists accuse the Lebanese authorities of being lax in bringing abusive employers to account.
Ethiopia and the Philippines have banned their citizens from domestic work in Lebanon, but still their citizens find ways to come.
In 2008, Human Rights Watch found that migrant domestic workers in Lebanon were dying at a rate of more than one per week from suicide or in failed escapes.
Many other countries in the Arab world also follow the “kafala” system for household workers.