Foreign domestic workers in Lebanon protest abuses

Migrant domestic workers carry placards during a protest in Beirut on Sunday, to call for the abolishment of the sponsorship (kafala) system. (AFP)
Updated 05 May 2019

Foreign domestic workers in Lebanon protest abuses

  • Domestic workers are excluded from the labor law, and instead obtain legal residency though their employers’ sponsorship
  • Lebanon hosts more than 250,000 registered domestic workers

BEIRUT: Hundreds of foreign domestic workers demonstrated in the Lebanese capital Sunday to demand the scrapping of a sponsorship system that they complain leaves them open to abuse from employers.
Lebanon hosts more than 250,000 registered domestic workers, the vast majority of them women, from countries including Ethiopia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka.
They are excluded from the labor law, and instead obtain legal residency though their employers’ sponsorship under the so-called “kafala” system.
The protesters marching in Beirut held up placards reading “No to slavery and yes to justice” and “Stop kafala.”
“We want the cancelation of this system. There are employees imprisoned in houses and they need to have days off,” Dozossissane, a 29-year-old Ethiopian, told AFP.
Lebanon’s labor ministry introduced a standard contract for domestic workers in 2009, but the forms are often written in Arabic, a language many cannot read.
Activists regularly accuse the authorities of failing to take claims of abuse seriously, with maids, nannies and carers left at the mercy of employers.
Amnesty International last month urged Lebanon to end what it called the “inherently abusive” migration sponsorship system and change the labor law to offer domestic workers more protection.
A report from the rights group that surveyed 32 domestic workers revealed “alarming patterns of abuse,” including physical punishments, humiliating treatment and food deprivation.


Rouhani says Iran budget set to resist US sanctions by curbing oil dependence

Updated 08 December 2019

Rouhani says Iran budget set to resist US sanctions by curbing oil dependence

  • Rouhani said the draft state budget was designed to resist US sanctions
DUBAI: President Hassan Rouhani presented a draft state budget to parliament on Sunday, saying it was designed to resist US sanctions by limiting dependence on oil exports, which Washington has targeted.
“This is a budget to resist sanctions...with the least possible dependence on oil,” Rouhani told parliament, according to state television.