Monday, April 18, 2016

Workers' Day 2016: Parade and Festival

For the seveth year in a row, domestic workers will be celebrating Workers' Day in Lebanon along with civil society organizations, friends and supporters. Join us to demand the ratification and implementation of ILO Convention 189 "Decent Working and Living Conditions for Domestic Workers"

12 PM to 1 PM
Parade
Gathering at Saint Joseph Church Parking/ Monot - Tabaris

1 PM to 4 PM
Cultural Festival & Market
Organized by domestic workers in the playground of Saint Francis Church in Hamra

For more info:
Kafa (enough) Violence & Exploitation 01/381245
Anti-Racism Movement 01/446593
CLDH 01/240023
Insan Association: 01/333091
Caritas Lebanon Migrant Center: 03/092538
Amel Association: 01/317293
The Afro-Asian Migrant Center (AAMC): 01/332601


للسنة السابعة على التوالي، تحتفل عاملات المنازل في لبنان بعيد العمال/العاملات، مع منظمات المجتمع المدني، الأصدقاء، والداعمين/ات كافةً! شاركونا هذه السنة بعيد العمال/العاملات لمطالبة الدولة اللبنانية بالتوقيع والتصديق على اتفاقية منظمة العمل الدولية 189 المتعلقة بظروف العمل اللائق للعاملات المنزليّات.

مسيرة
تبدأ من 12 ظهراً،
التجمع في الموقف المقابل لكنيسة مار يوسف في مونو، تباريز.

احتفال ثقافي وسوق
من الساعة 1 ظهراً حتى 4 من بعد الظهر
من تنظيم عاملات المنازل في لبنان في ساحة كنيسة مار فرنسيس - مقابل دنكن دونتس – شارع الحمراء

للمزيد من المعلومات، الرجاء الإتصال على هذه الأرقام:
منظمة كفى عنف وإستغلال: ٣٨١٢٤٥/٠١
حركة مناهضة العنصرية: ٤٤٤٢٨٣/٠١
المركز اللبناني لحقوق الإنسان: ٢٤٠٠٢٣/٠١
مؤسسة إنسان: ٣٣٣٠٩١/٠١
كاريتاس: ٠٩٢٥٣٨/٠١
مؤسسة عامل: ٣١٧٢٩٣/٠١
AAMC: ٣٣٢٦٠١/٠١


EVENT ON FACEBOOK

Volunteers Needed for MCC



Let us know if you can volunteer.

Rahel's Monthly Ethiopian Lunch at t-marbouta

From Rahel's page on fb

***

I'm excited to invite you again to join me on Tuesday, April 26th, starting 12pm for my monthly Ethiopian lunch event at ة t-marbouta in Hamra. The event will end once the food runs out! 

The Menu will include:
1. Minchet abish (minced beef: turmeric, onion, fresh ginger, rosemary)
2. Doro wet (chicken stew: fresh ginger, onion, garlic, oregano, Ethiopian special pepper, oil, hard-boiled eggs)
3. Azifa soup (lentils with a mix of olive oil and ginger with tomatoes and onion)
4. Salad (tomatoes, lemon, iceberg, olive oil)
5. Carrot cake

The Vegetarian menu will include:
1. Douban what (pumpkin stew) 
2. Keysir and dinish (beetroot and potato stew)
3. Misir wat (red lentils + Ethiopian spices)
4. Salad (tomatoes, lemon, iceberg, olive oil)
5. Carrot cake

Everything will be offered with the injera bread. Price per person is 20,000 LL and includes either of the above formulas. Proceeds will go to the chef. Hope that you all invite your friends and come enjoy the meal with us! Please try your best to arrive early before the food runs out! Take-away option also available.

In all cases, you can also call on 01 350 274 to double-check there is still food available before arriving:)

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Jumping out of Lebanese Houses

في هذا المبنى، في منطقة الحمرا، تعمل عاملة كينية، لم يسبق لأحد من الجيران أن صادفوها يوما. لا أحد يعلم ما الذي تتعرض له هذه العاملة لتحاول الخروج بهذه الطريقة في الساعة الثالثة صباحا. كانت هذه آخر محاولة قبل أن يأتي الصليب الأحمر ويأخذها.
لم نتوصل حتى الآن إلى أي معلومات عنها، ولا إلى أي مستشفى تم أخذها. هل سيفتح تحقيق بما حصل لها؟ هل سيتساءل أحد ان كانت هذه العاملة تتقاضى راتبا؟ لا أحد من الجيران يعرفها، ما يعني أنها كانت مسجونة في منزل الكفيل، هل سنعلم متى سمح لها بأن ترى الشمس قبل خروجها بهذه الطريقة؟




Wednesday, April 13, 2016

'Crazy'

'دخيلكن، ساعدوني، ما تخلوهن يجبروني آخد الدوا ويرجعو يخلصوا مني. ما ح تخلوهن يعملو هيك، صح؟' هذه الجملة الأخيرة التي قالتها لنا مارتا، العاملة الأثيوبية نهار أمس، أثناء زيارتنا لها في مستشفى العجزة، مارتا الموجودة في طابق الأمراض النفسية والعصبية.
في تفاصيل ما حدث مع مارتا، وكيف وصلت إلى هناك.
وصلنا اتصال من أحد الأشخاص قبل يومين، بأن هناك عاملة أجنبية، مصابة إصابة بليغة في رأسها، موجودة في قسم الطوارئ في مستشفى المقاصد، لم تأت مارتا وحيدة بل أحضرها أحد أصحاب مكاتب الإستقدام، وكان واضحا أن مارتا قد تعرّضت للضرب. صاحب المكتب نكر تعرضها للضرب وبرر بأنها وقعت، ووصل به الأمر بأن يصرخ بالممرضات والزائرين اللذين أرادوا التدخل.
بحسب مارتا، ما حصل هو مشكلة كالمشاكل اليومية التي تحدث يوميا في مكاتب الإستقدام، المكاتب الكثيرة المفتوحة بلا حسيب ولا رقيب، أحد الموظفين في المكتب، وأمام الجميع قام بدفع مارتا، فوقعت وأصيبت برأسها.
صاحب المكتب، واسمه وهيب، اتصل بأحد الأطباء، واتفق معه بإدخالها إلى قسم الأمراض النفسية بدار العجزة، ولكن بالتأكيد لم يكن بمقدوره ادخاله مع الاصابة البليغة برأسها، فاشترط عليه الطبيب أن يأخذها إلى المستشفى ويعالج رأسها أولا.
بعد عملية التقطيب لرأسها، يقوم وهيب برميها بسرفيس بكل برادة أعصاب، بهدف إيصالها إلى دار العجزة والانتهاء من هذا الكابوس.
أحد الأشخاص اللذين راقبوا الحادثة قال لصاحب المكتب "نحنا كلنا عارفين شو عملت فيها للبنت، بدك هلق تروح تكبها بمستشفى المجانين ولا كأنو صار شي؟ يا عيب الشوم عليك". شخص آخر سأل الأثيوبيات الذين كانوا في المستشفى وحاولوا معرفة ما يحصل مع الفتاة ' ما عندكن شي حدا يتدخل؟ حرام عليكن تخلوا يوصلها لهونيك. إذا بتاخدوها بتروح فيها.'
الأثيوبيات صعدوا مع التاكسي بالقوة ومن دون رضى صاحب المكتب، ليعرفوا المكان الذي ستؤخذ مارتا عليه، قالوا أن سائق التاكسي، علّق على الحادثة " هياها متل الحصان، ما بها شي، أنا باخدها بشغلها عندي، عطوني ياها".
صاحب المكتب حتى الساعة لم يعتمد على سيناريو موّحد للقصة، في المستشفى قال أنها "زحطت: لاحقا تحولت القصة إلى أنها حاولت القفز من البلكون، ثم تحولت مارتا إلى شخص لديه إنفصام بالشخصية "هي مجنونة ومجننتني، انتو ما خصكن وأنا ما بدي إلا ساعدها"
الدكتور في المكان المتواجدة فيه مارتا، لم يرق له أن لديها زوار، لاحقا عرفنا أن مارتا ليست العاملة الوحيدة الموجودة هناك، بل يوجد عاملتان من أثيوبيا وواحدة من غانا.
في اللحظات الأخيرة لمارتا استنجدت بنا وتوسلت لكي نساعدها.
حاولنا الإتصال بالوزارة على الخط الساخن الذي لا يجيب عليه أحد، هذه الحادثة هي بمثابة إخبار لوزارة العمل للتصرف مع صاحب المكتب ولإيقاف معاناة العاملات الأجانب، فمارتا حالة من مئات الحالات أو أكثر.


Today we went to Dar El-Ajaza Hospital. We met with 3 women, 2 from Ethiopia and a third who is perhaps from Ghana. They were all on the first floor, the mental and psychiatric ward in the hospital. None of them were ‘crazy’. You want to get rid of someone, someone of ‘less value’, like migrant women for instance? Put them at a place like this and claim they are ‘crazy’. It’s a very easy thing to do in Lebanon. You could also get away with committing a crime by claiming that you did it because the victim was crazy and you had to 'restrain' them, and then lock them away where their story can never be heard or told.
The following are some stories, as recounted by the women at the hospital, and friends who visited them personally:
==
'Martha':
- She was taken back to the agency yesterday by the people she used to work for, and then a big quarrel happened, typical of agency quarrels here, during which one of the men who work at the agency violently pushed her from the back, as she says, and she fell down on a corner on her head, causing her head it to open with a huge amount of blood gushing out. We have a photo (too harsh to share). The first thing that happens is that the agency owner takes her to Dar El-Ajaza, rather than to a hospital emergency room.
Meanwhile, the agency owner, a 'Waheeb' from Barbeer, makes a proper deal with a doctor there (whose name we have), who accepted to admit her with no base or proof of mental disability whatsoever, with one request. He wanted to stitch her head outside and then come back to admit her. The doctor of course can't explain getting her inside Dar El-Ajaza with all the blood, so 'Waheeb' then takes her to Makassed Hospital and it takes them a few hours to make the stitching. Then, when they are done 4 hours later, he drops her in a taxi and transports her with all the apathy in the world back to Dar El-Ajaza.
Right before leaving the hospital, one passerby shouts out:
'We know very well what you have done to this girl. You are not just going to wash it away by throwing her at psychiatric hospital now. Shame on people like you.’
Then, at the door, another security guard that witnesses this tells one of the Ethiopian woman who was escorting her through this process to secure her from more harm from this agency: 'Don't you know/have anyone who can help? Do not let them take her to this hospital. It will be the end of her.'
In the taxi (which is supposedly a random taxi): The man who pushed her was sitting in the front next to the driver, the injured woman is sitting in the back with 3 other Ethiopian women (who came to her rescue to the hospital and forced themselves inside the taxi with the agency owner when they knew he was taking her to another hospital, and little did they know by then which hospital it was yet.)
The taxi driver hears the quarrels happenings between agency guy in front and the Ethiopian women in the back, and he comes up with a splendid suggestion: ‘Khalas, just give her to me. I'll make her work at my house, for me and my wife. Make me a 'tanazol' now and I'll take her. Don't worry about her, I'll handle her.’ (We don’t know if he had had any previous agreement with the agency owner)
One of the Ethiopian women in utmost shock at the sequence of this day’s events: “Is this a film or what? Take her do what with her? Can't you see she is all soaked up in blood? Who will take responsibility for this? If something happens to her at your house, if she dies tomorrow, what will you do then? Huh?”
Taxi driver: “Stop exaggerating. She is strong as a horse. She'll be fine. Just give her to me...”
The agency guy: “If it were up to me, I want to get rid of her ASAP. if you (the Ethiopian women at the backseat) accept, Id' sign this ‘tanazol’ this second. Whoever wants to take her, I’ll give her to you. I don’t want this headache of another crazy woman. Take her, fix her, make her work for whoever, I don’t give a damn. Just rid me of this responsibility.”
Meanwhile, the guy who had initially pushed her at the agency was following their footsteps. He was waiting at the door of the hospital, watching whoever goes in and out to her room, then followed them to Dar EL-Ajaza and stood by the door and did the same.
Also important to note, that the agency owner had a different story to share at first, when different people were coming in to the room were she was in at the hospital and seeing her in that state of blood and terror. He said what we would all guess is easy to say. 'She jumped of the balcony. No one had touched her.' Soon on, he changed his version.
==
'Alem':
She seems very mentally and physically healthy. She is just very surprised she is at this hospital. She says she didn’t have ‘bad employers’. She was a little ill (physically) and they took her to the hospital and then she realized it was this hospital. And then she never saw the employers again. It’s been more than 10 days. She wants to work again and doesn’t have any news on when she is allowed to leave this place.
==
'Emma':
She was reading through her bible. She spotted 2 other migrant women in the corridor when they finished their visit to the 'Martha' woman. She told us: "I am not crazy. I have been here for long and don't know why. What for?' Then, this conversation was interrupted by hospital staff asking us to leave on the spot.
==
The last thing that that echoes in our head after this long day of Lebanese institutional surrealism with migrant workers is the last sentence 'Martha' told us before we were leaving (by instruction from the doctor, who was very worried that she had visitors, to the nurses on the phone), as she held the arms of one of us in the saddest posture ever:
‘Please, help me. I do not want them to force me to take some weird meds, I don’t know what’s in them, and then they can kill me while I’m here and say I’m crazy and I did it to myself. That’s what they will do, right?’
We are thus publicly sharing this information with the ministry of Labor, which has been making statements about canceling licenses for employment agencies and fining them over different violations. We would have liked to call the ministry of Labor on the hotline designated for MDW-issues and discuss this with them directly, but unfortunately for us, their hotline never picked up since they launched it in mid-2015. Not once. We actually did call another accessible number at the ministry to complain that the hotline they claimed to have launched never works, and the employee who responded interrupted our complaint to ask us the following: “I need a girl who can work for my mothers’ house in the village for 150$/month. Could you guys find me someone quick?”
What is this joke place we live in?
Is there an end in sight to any of this?

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Sunday, April 10, 2016

UN gives Qatar a year to end forced labour of migrant workers

Qatar has been given 12 months to end migrant worker slavery or face a possible United Nations investigation.

The warning sets the 2022 World Cup host nation on a path to becoming only the fifth ever country to face a formal inquiry by the UN’s International Labour Organisation into allegations of forced labour after Burma, Haiti, Liberia and Portugal. It could ultimately pave the way for international sanctions.

On the Guardian

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Supporting MCC made easier

Now you can support the MCC on Ammado!

MissionMCC is a community center where migrant workers can come to meet, take classes, socialize, organize, network, discuss issues and hold celebrations and events.

Friday, April 8, 2016

More news from Sejaan Azzi

On DailyStar

BEIRUT: Labor Minister Sejaan Azzi announced Wednesday that the number of work permit renewals for domestic workers in Lebanon has decreased by 60 percent, which he said would lead to a rise in the employment of Lebanese nationals instead.