Monday, November 17, 2014

مناشير مناهضة للعنصرية:)

الصورة من صفحة روجيه عوطة
"الحصيلة الأكبر التي قتلتها داعش حتى اليوم كانت من السوريين. ورغم ذلك يُصوَّر لنا يوميا أنّ كل سوري هو داعشيّ. السوريون هربوا من داعش والنظام في سوريا وأتوا إلى لبنان بحثا عن بعض الأمان. ومع ذلك نحمّلهم يوميا مسؤولية ما ترتكبه داعش من جرائم. فيهانون، ويخطفون ويعتدى عليهم، وقد يصل الأمر حدّ قتلهم.
المسؤول الوحيد عن حل موضوع خطف الجنود اللبنانيين هيالدولة اللبنانية التي، كما لم تكن مهتمة بتحرير الاسرى اللبنانيين في السجون السورية من قبل، أو حتى السجون الاسرائيلية، فهي اليوم لا تحرك جفناً أمام استمرار خطف الجنود اللبنانيين لدى داعش، فعلى من أولى توجيه الغضب؟ اللاجئون السوريون الذين لا علاقة لهم بتاتاً في عملية الخطف، أم الدولة اللبنانية التي لم تسعَ يوماً إلى حماية حياة مواطنيها؟
الدولة هي المسؤولة، فلنجعلها تتحمل مسؤوليتها، ولتًرفَع الايادي العنصرية عن اللاجئين والعمال السوريين".


Letter from Rita

"
sorry to bother you at this hour, i just need to talk to someone before i explode, and my brother will get mad n start telling me i told you not to go there.....he worries a lot. i feel so worthless like a piece of shit.

my self esteem is going down, i've been labelled so many names, a prostitute stands out, making men see me as a sex object here asking me for sex all the time, harassing me, trying to force... am starting to think when they look at me they see a big black virgin not an African girl.

now am still working and its past ten on a sunday am so tired i can hardly stand or walk. my back is killing me, i've been running around with kids the whole day, preparing the house, the front yard, the back yard for his guests. my boss doesn't even care if i've eaten. me and the other girl who is sleeping right now have to wait for our bosses to eat, then the bodyguards and then us, at times nothing is left, and they don't care they just tell you go and eat, you are big you can think for yourself so go cook, at times there is nothing to cook.

the lady we stay with counts her food, including pieces of meat in the pan. we are at her mercy often times we are forced to go hungry, steal food, or hide it. otherwise we are given food passed its expiry date. at times coz of hunger we just eat and handle the stomach aches. i feel like a piece of garbage, am loosing my self worth, am being labelled a prostitute just because i'm social. when my boss is entertaining and his friends come with bodyguards, they don't stop harassing me, even when i get so mad like now n tell them i don't appreciate being touched. they just say "sorry you really are mad", then they proceed to ask for sex, sneak up on me n grab something.

i am so mad right now i cant even cry. i feel so helpless, am scared to say something coz they hav guns n tempers the size of a hippo. wen i try to tell someone they blame me! n say i shoudn't talk to men, i should dress nicely n nt show my body, and mind you the tight trousers am wearing they are the ones who gave them to me. i've never worn my clothes here...

its like am in prison when people are over am not allowed to be seen with my phone even like right now am doing nothing but waiting for him to finish from the guests,he says he will throw it away so i'm hiding as am writing to you.  i feel like a slave, a working machine slave, sleep late, wake up early, u eat u don't eat you sort yourself. it's ur problem. once in a while guilt strikes them then u eat good. most times its u n God.

no wonder a lot of the girls i have met n talked to r sad and withdrawn, behaving like slaves, do what the master says, don't think, most of them have tried getting out of the contract but to no avail. i look at them n i see sad, worn out faces, dragging their tired, overworked bodies others have a different story, most of them seem to have lost it, they move from one house to the next, hoping by the time they get to the next house two or three years will be over then they can go back home.

my boss is still entertaining guests, lord knows when he'll be through. please forgive me for burdening you with this. i don't even want to be sitting down n talking about why i want to be out, coz talking means we can resolve things, and i don't want to stay in this condition, even if they give me a million liras i just wanna go home. am too tired to even doze, my body especially my legs n back are in so much pain i don't know if i'll sleep tonight.

please if you can help me, i will forever be grateful, i know i bought this on myself, my family n friends warned me n i didn't listen, i was in so much debt at that time,  all i saw was clearing them n thank God for lebanon i've cleared all of them. forgive me for burdening u with all this and thank u. God bless you n gudnyt.
"

Rita is still in Lebanon.

Minister bars advertising for domestic worker agencies

A first step? Or an empty gesture?

The Minister of Labour banned advertisements of domestic worker recruitment offices because they are "demeaning" and akin to human trafficking........ and what about these offices' PRACTICES which are demeaning, abusive, and often equal to human trafficking? Isn't it more important to ban the actual practices? Or is this just another attempt at image management?

Daily Star article link on banning advertising for domestic worker agencies

Sunday, November 16, 2014

A Sri Lankan girl living in Lebanon isn’t really a citizen of either country

Ari Daniel

Rainey is 13, her hair is tied back in a long ponytail. One of her favorite foods is tabbouleh, served on top of rice. She was born in Lebanon and she has grown up here, which explains her love of tabbouleh, a Lebanese salad made with parsley and bulgur wheat. But the Lebanese would never eat it with rice.

“My family is from Sri Lanka,” she explains. In Sri Lanka, everything is eaten with rice.

Rainey’s parents came to Lebanon from Sri Lanka 20 years ago to get away from their country’s civil war. In fact, Lebanon has almost a quarter million migrant workers who tend to be employed as maids, trash collectors and gas station attendants. They come from countries across Asia and Africa, often to escape economic and political hardship.

At their home in the Beirut neighborhood of Sed El Bouchrieh, Rainey’s parents speak Sinhala with her. And while they have worked here as cleaners, Rainey has spent her time going to a local public school, and studying. She says her classes include “biology and chemistry and physics, and geography and Arabic and French and English.”

Some of Rainey’s friends are Sri Lankan. Some are Lebanese. She been to Sri Lanka a few times to visit, but Lebanon is home. When she is asked to write down her nationality, she writes Lebanese.

Counting who is Lebanese

But Lebanon thinks differently. Citizenship rules are strict. Lebanese nationality is conferred only through the father (and not the mother). Unlike the US, being born on Lebanese soil does not necessarily make you a citizen. This means that every three years, Rainey has to renew her Lebanese visa. It is up for renewal next week, and she is concerned.

Rainey says, “My friend, when she go to renew her visa, they tell her to go to Sri Lanka.”

When her friend was not able to renew her visa, she had no choice but to leave. Rainey went with her friend all the way to the airport, where they said goodbye through tears.

According to Human Rights Watch, kids from nearly a dozen migrant worker families have already had their visas refused, and many were told to leave the country quickly, sometimes in just a couple of days. In the span of a year, Rainey has had to say goodbye, one by one, to ten of her friends. And very soon, she worries that she will have to leave Lebanon too.

“I don’t know why they make these rules,” she admits.



Credit:
Ari Daniel

Rainey and her mom stand outside the Migrant Community Center, which provides language classes, cultural programming, and social services for the Asian and African communities in Beirut.

Rainey’s mom, who goes by Souji, is just as baffled. And she is very upset. Souji has worked as a maid in Lebanon for two decades, primarily to give her daughter a better life. All she wants is for her to complete her studies, but she says that Rainey has lost her motivation.

“But now everything finish,” Souji says through tears. “She’s not small baby now — she understand everything.”

This policy comes from the Security General, the government office in charge of immigration and deportation in Lebanon. A senior official there said that they are simply beefing up the enforcement of an existing law that blocks the renewal of a child’s visa if one or both of the parents are working illegally in the country. And the reason for the new enforcement, according to the Security General, is to deal with growing numbers of non-Lebanese in Lebanon. This includes people who cannot be asked to leave, like Palestinian and Syrian refugees.

But a group in Lebanon called the Anti-Racism Movement, says that the parents of some of the kids who have been told to leave do have legal status.

Setting sail

As for Rainey, she is spending what may be her last days in Lebanon playing with friends, learning how to drive, and drawing.

She takes one of her pencil sketches out of a folder. A seashell occupies the center of the page. Behind it, a sailboat floats on the horizon. Rainey says her plan is to become a graphic designer. And when she finishes with that, she wants to try her hand at sailing. As for where she will sail, she says, “Maybe in Sri Lanka ... maybe in Lebanon also.”

Rainey wants to draw and paint as she sails. And when she makes port calls, she will display and sell her paintings. Her goal, she eagerly admits, is “to make people happy.”

To make people happy, in both Sri Lanka and Lebanon.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Migrant Domestic Workers Deaths in Lebanon: More Investigation Needed


Beirut, November 14, 2014,

In three unrelated incidents, three Migrant Domestic Workers in Lebanon have died or been seriously injured in the last week. The Migrant Domestic Workers Coordination Consortium (MDWCC) and other civil society NGOs demand rigorous and serious investigations into the three cases and in all cases of Migrant Domestic Workers’ death or serious injury.

On the 6th of November 2014, Emebit Bekele Biru was found dead at her employer’s house in the Naameh area following an alleged disagreement with a member of her family. Biru died of hanging. A source close to Biru’s employers told the MDWCC and the other NGOs “she was very disturbed following a phone call from her husband; it seems that there were some disagreements between the two”. The investigation concluded that Biru committed suicide and the case was closed.

On the 7th of November 2014, Derhemesh Labou died after she was seen to fall from the third floor of a building in the Chouefiat area. It remains unclear whether Labou’s death was classified as suicide or whether criminal charges were pressed.

On the 10th of November 2014, Birkutan Dubri fell from the fourth floor of a building in the Msaytbeh area. According to eyewitnesses, Dubri and her employer were arguing minutes before the incident took place. Dubri was transported to Al-Makased hospital where she is currently being treated. According to media reports, the police arrived to the place of the incident but failed to interview the employer as she was feeling ‘very upset’.

Migrant Domestic Workers deaths could be linked to the restrictive Kafala system that ties the domestic worker to one employer for the duration of her contract and does not guarantee her the absolute right to quit or the freedom of movement. While trying to escape abusive employers or poor living conditions, many migrant domestic workers end up falling to their deaths.

Many cases of Migrant Domestic Workers’ deaths are poorly investigated and the majority of cases are automatically classified as suicides. Such classifications are suspect. When rare investigations are carried out, police usually rely on the testimony of the employer and seldom expand the circle of investigation to include neighbors and friends of the domestic worker. Furthermore, employer abuse and poor living conditions as causes of suicide or death are often overlooked in the investigation.

Under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), “every human being has the inherent right to life”. Further, the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) recognizes the rights of everyone “to the enjoyment of just and favorable conditions of work” including the right to “safe and healthy working conditions”. By failing to ensure decent work conditions and proper investigations into Migrant Domestic Workers’ deaths or injuries, Lebanon is contravening its international human rights obligations under the ICCPR and ICESCR.

The MDWCC and the other NGOs demand that the deaths of migrant domestic workers whether classified as suicide or otherwise, be properly investigated. Investigators should look for signs of employer’s abuse and mistreatment. When suicide is due to poor living conditions or employer abuse, the employer must be prosecuted and held legally accountable. Furthermore, investigations should be balanced and cover all concerned parties including employers, neighbors, witnesses and friends of the Migrant Domestic Workers. Investigating the causes of death will allow identifying the causes of recurring “suicides” in order the address the challenges to prevent further death and insure a healthier employer-employee relationship. The MDWCC and other NGOs also call upon the Lebanese state to protect and promote the rights of Migrant Domestic Workers to safe working conditions by abolishing the Kafala system that perpetuates exploitation.

Signatories:

Ÿ The Migrant Domestic Workers Coordination Consortium (MDWCC):
- Amel Association International
- Anti Racism Movement (ARM)
- Insan Association
- Kafa- Enough Violence and Exploitation

Ÿ Lebanese Center for Human Rights (CLDH) 

Ÿ Legal Agenda

Ÿ Migrant Workers Task Force (MWTF)

وفيات عاملات المنازل المهاجرات في لبنان: الحاجة إلى المزيد من التحقيق


بيروت، 14 تشرين الثاني 2014

لقيت ثلاث عاملات منازل مهاجرات حتفهن، أو أصبن بجروح خطيرة في ثلاثة حوادث غير مترابطة خلال الأسبوع المنصرم. تطالب مجموعة المنظّمات العاملة على دعم حقوق عاملات المنازل المهاجرات(MDWCC)  بالتحقيق الصارم والجاد في الحالات الثلاث، وفي جميع الوفيات، أو الإصابات الخطيرة التي تحدث لعاملات المنازل المهاجرات.

بتاريخ 6 تشرين الثاني 2014، وجدت Emebit Bekele Biru ميتة في منزل صاحب عملها في منطقة الناعمة تبعاً لخلاف مزعوم مع أحد أفراد عائلتها. توفيت Biru شنقاً. وقال مصدر مقرّب من من أصحاب عملها لـ(MDWCC)  أنها "كانت منزعجة جداً اثر مكالمة هاتفية أجرتها مع زوجها. "يبدو أن هناك بعض الخلافات بينهما." هذا وخلص التحقيق إلى أن Biru انتحرت وأغلقت القضية.

بتاريخ 7 تشرين الثاني 2014، توفيت Derhemesh Labou بعد أن شوهدت تقع من الطابق الثالث من مبنى في منطقة الشويفات. لا يزال غير واضحا إذا كان تم تصنيف وفاة Labou انتحاراً، أو إذا ما تم توجيه اتهام جنائي في القضية.
في العاشر من تشرين الثاني 2014، وقعت Birkutan Dubri من الطابق الرابع من مبنى في منطقة المصيطبة. وفقاً لإفادات الشهود، Dubri كانت تتشاجر مع صاحبة عملها دقائق قبيل الحادث. نقلت Dubri إلى مستشفى المقاصد حيث يجري حالياً معالجتها. وفقاً لتقارير وسائل الإعلام، حضرت الشرطة إلى موقع الحادث لكنها فشلت في مقابلة صاحبة العمل التي كانت "مستاءة جداً".

يمكن ربط وفيات عاملات المنازل المهاجرات بنظام الكفالة الذي يقيّد إقامتهن بصاحب عمل حصري على طول مدة العقد، والذي يحرمهن من حقّهن المطلق بفسخ العلاقة التعاقدية، ويحدّ من حريّة تحركهن. فخلال محاولة الهروب من علاقة عمل تعسّفية، أو من ظروف معيشية سيئة، تسقط الكثير من عاملات المنازل المهاجرات في نهاية المطاف إلى موتهن.

يتم التحقيق بشكل سيء في العديد من حالات وفيات عالملات المنازل المهاجرات، فتصنّف معظمها تلقائياً على أنها حالات انتحار. هذه التصنيفات هي محط شك، سيما وأنه عندما تتم التحقيقات، تعتمد القوى الأمنية عادةً على شهادات أصحاب العمل، ونادراً ما يتم توسيع دائرة التحقيق لتشمل الجيران وأصدقاء العاملة. وعلاوةً على ذلك، غالباً ما يتغاضى التحقيق عن إساءات أصحاب العمل والظروف المعيشية السيئة باعتبارها أسباب للانتحار أو للوفاة.

ينصّ العهد الدولي الخاص بالحقوق المدنية والسياسية على أن "لكل إنسان الحق الطبيعي في الحياة". كما وأن العهد الدولي الخاص بالحقوق الاقتصادية والاجتماعية والثقافية يقرّ بالحق في "التمتّع بشروط عادلة ومُرضية في العمل" بما في ذلك الحق في "ظروف عمل آمنة وصحية". يخالف لبنان التزاماته الدولية في مجال حقوق الإنسان في ظل العهدين المذكورين لجهة الفشل في ضمان ظروف عمل لائقة، وفي إجراء التحقيقات المناسبة في حالات وفيات أو إصابة عاملات المنازل المهاجرات.

يطالب(MDWCC)  والمنظمات الأخرى الموقعة على البيان بالتحقيق المناسب في وفيات عاملات المنازل المهاجرات، سواء تم تصنيفها على أنها حصلت بسبب الانتحار أو غيره من الأسباب.ويتوجب على المحققين البحث عن وقائع تؤشر إلى سوء المعاملة من قبل صاحب العمل. عندما يكون الانتحار قد حدث بسبب الظروف السيئة التي تعيش فيها عاملات المنازل المهاجرات، أو بسبب طريقة تعاطي صاحب العمل، لا بد من مقاضاة هذا الأخير ومحاسبته قانونياً. وعلاوة على ذلك، ينبغي أن تكون التحقيقات متوازنة وأن تشمل جميع الأطراف المعنية بمن فيهم أصحاب العمل والجيران والشهود وأصدقاء عاملة المنزل المهاجرة. فالتحقيق الجدي في أسباب الوفاة يتيح المجال لتحديد الأسباب لتكرار حالات "الانتحار"، وذلك لمنع المزيد من حالات الوفيت وضمان علاقة سليمة بين أصحاب العمل والعاملات.

. كما تدعو المنظمات الموقّعة على البيان الدولة اللبنانية إلى حماية وتعزيز حقوق عاملات المنازل المهاجرات في ظروف عمل آمنة عبر إلغاء نظام الكفالة الذي يكرّس الاستغلال.

المنظمات الموقّعة:
Ÿ مجموعة المنظّمات العاملة على دعم حقوق عاملات المنازل المهاجرات:
مؤسسة عامل الدولية
حركة مناهضة العنصرية
مؤسسة إنسان
منظمة كفى عنف واستغلال
Ÿ المركز اللبناني لحقوق الإنسان
Ÿ المفكرة القانونية

Ÿ فريق العمل المعني بالعمال الوافدين

Friday, November 14, 2014

Sri Lankan Dinner Night at Nasawiya:)

Join us for a delicious dinner of authentic Sir-Lankan cuisine cooked by the talented Anna this Friday night at Nasawiya Cafe in Mar Mikhael!

Price: $10/person including soft drinks!

Menu:

• Chicken Curry (Sri Lankan style - mild)
• Yellow Rice
• Green Salad 
• Beans with Cashew Nuts
• Papad

Proceeds (and compliments) go to the cook. Fabulous Sri-Lankan music will accompany the night.

See you there!

This Friday at 8 pm!
Fb event

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Lebanon's migrant workers find comfort in drama


For the past 10 months, migrant workers have been working with Daccache to create a play that will bring attention to both their individual experiences and the collective stories of their communities in Lebanon. The aims of the project — made possible with funding from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in collaboration with the collective Migrant Workers Task Force — are to provide drama therapy sessions over the course of a year to culminate in a theatrical performance by the group in December.