UN seeks to protect young children from work on farms in Lebanon

A farmer harvests broccoli south of Sidon, Lebanon March 15, 2016. (REUTERS/Ali Hashisho)
Updated 07 September 2017

UN seeks to protect young children from work on farms in Lebanon

BEIRUT: With child labor soaring in Lebanon following the outbreak of war in Syria, the UN published on Wednesday the first guide in Arabic to help farmers and officials seeking to protect them from risks like sexual abuse and injury.
Children as young as five, largely Syrian refugees and poor Lebanese, are missing out on school and harming their health by working on farms, especially in remote, rural regions like the Beqaa, it said.
“Abuse and exploitation is widespread,” Frank Hagemann, ILO’s deputy director for Arab States told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.
More than 9 million, or almost one in 10 children in the Middle East and North Africa are child laborers, mostly working in agriculture, International Labour Organization (ILO) data shows.
“It has been fueled by the refugee influx, by the need of refugee families to earn a livelihood, by their economic misery,” Hagemann said.
Lebanon has more than one million Syrian refugees, including nearly 500,000 children, after a government crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in 2011 led to civil war, and Daesh militants used the chaos to seize territory in Syria and Iraq.
The guide, co-written with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), includes information on the risks child laborers face, for example sexual abuse, contamination from pesticides and missing out on their right to education.


Turkey says ready to send troops to back Libya unity govt

Updated 17 min 26 sec ago

Turkey says ready to send troops to back Libya unity govt

ANKARA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday he was ready to send troops to Libya if requested by the internationally recognised government in Tripoli.
"On the issue of sending soldiers... If Libya makes such a request from us, we can send our personnel there, especially after striking the military security agreement," he said in a televised appearance.
Turkey signed a military agreement last month with Libya's Government of National Accord, led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj.
It came after media reports that Russia had sent 200 mercenaries to support Libya's military strongman Khalifa Haftar, who is seeking to unseat the Tripoli-based government.
Russia has denied the reports, but Erdogan said: "There is a security company from Russia (in Libya) called Wagner. This company sent its security staff there."
The Wagner Group is a shadowy private security firm and thousands of its security contractors are believed to be in foreign conflicts from Syria to Ukraine to the Central African Republic.
At the same time as the military deal, Turkey also signed a controversial maritime jurisdiction agreement with Sarraj, giving sweeping rights for Turkey to explore for oil in the Mediterranean.
"With the new line drawn (by the maritime agreement), we will take steps to protect the interests of Libya, Turkey and the TRNC (Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus). This is in line with international law," he said.
The deal has been staunchly opposed by Greece, Cyprus and their European partners which says it violates the islands' maritime rights.