Friday, August 22, 2014

Children of Migrant Workers Face Dead End in Lebanon

Since early this summer, the General Security had decided, without explanation or prior warning, with no new decision or decree, to no longer renew the residency permits of many migrant domestic workers who reside in Lebanon with their children, most of which have been born and raised here all their lives.

This clearly 'internal' decision has not been made public; yet we have already heard of at least fifty cases of migrant children whose ikama renewal has been significantly delayed and a few handful who have been officially rejected already. Some of these rejections, very sad to say, have come in the form of a notice of 72 hours max to leave the country.

These people have never had trouble with the law, or with the renewal of their papers in the past. They have always followed procedures as they should and they paid all their dues throughout the 10, 20, 30 years of their stay in Lebanon.

Some have been here for years, others for decades, others their whole lives.

Many children of migrant workers coming from Asian and African countries were born and raised in Lebanon. They know no other home. They speak Arabic fluently, they go to Lebanese schools, they have made their lives in this country. This General Security directive coincided with the end of the school year, and so the children were no longer enrolled in school (which would have made their deportation more difficult).

We, along with many colleagues in the field, deem this invisible directive to be unjust and discriminatory to say the least, as it only applies to certain nationalities within specific worker categories. This directive also goes against multiple United Nations human rights and children’s rights conventions that Lebanon has ratified.

But they will not leave quietly. Here are some of their stories…

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