Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Meet Khaled and his friends.

Note: fahmet means فحمات in arabic which in turn means coal in english.

And while you are it, you might as well check his comments afterwards and the severe denial/sad self defense mechanism he utilizes. 

Monday, December 29, 2014

MCC End of Year Party Photos~

That was fun! :)

A Lebanese-Syrian Sports and Arts Activity in Jezzine

Search for Common Ground organized an educational, artistic and sports day that combined Syrian and Lebanese participants in Jezzine as one of their conflict resolution projects. The project proved necessary given the tensions overwhelming the area due to an influx of Syrian refugees.

This project was held with the support of Jezzine’s mayor Khalil Harfouche and the local Shallal club in Jezzine alongside the UNHCR, EU and the Jezzine Union.

The day started with a friendly soccer match at Mar Youssef court which took place between 10 am and 1 pm, combining 4 teams mixed between Syrians and Lebanese youth aged between 17 and 30.

The “Mahabba” team won the tournament, receiving the cup and gold place medals. Moreover, the Syrian player nicknamed Messi won the MVP award while Syrian “Abou Hmeid” won the best goalie award. The winners received their awards from Mayor Khalil Harfouche, Search for Common Ground’s programme director Elisa Dari, and president of the Shallal club Antoine Chahine.

Under the “Together for Peace” initiative, the game was followed by a Syrian-Lebanese lunch in Shallal restaurant where Lebanese and Syrian artists who have been working on this project over the last 18 months performed several artistic pieces.

The lunch began with the Lebanese national anthem and with a speech from Shallal club president Antoine Chahine’s thanking all the NGOS, the Jezzine municipality and the Jezzine Union which both hold Khalil Harfouche as their president for their cooperation to build security and peace in our local community.

Following Antoine Chahine’s speech, programme director Elisa Dari explained Search for Common Ground’s objectives and her opinion on ways to resolve conflict and find common ground between Lebanese and Syrians. She elaborated that this project is one of many implemented by Search for Common Ground that are implemented for over 18 months in different Lebanese regions, specifically the north and south.


Mayor Khalil Harfouche expressed his happiness at participating in this educational sports day, emphasizing that the people of Jezzine deeply understand the pain and suffering felt by Syrians fromwar and forced migration over the years. He appreciated these tension-decreasing activities and kindly asked the Syrians to keep cooperating and stay calm in order to keep building peace between themselves and Jezzine’s local residents. In regards to the Lebanese, they were asked to keep treating Syrians as brothers and sisters with love and not demeaning their human dignity.

Lastly, Mayor Khalil Harfouche ended his speech by promising that the Jezzine municipality and all Jezzine’s unions are ready to engage in any future activities tackling conflict resolution in order to build peace between Syrians and Lebanese in Jezzine and elsewhere. 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Ethiopian Night Tomorrow

Rahel, again! :)

Join us for a delicious Ethiopian dinner cooked by (the famous) Rahel this Friday night at Nasawiya Cafe in Mar Mikhael!


• Doro Wet (Chicken)
• Misir Wet (made with lentils)
• Ayib (Ethiopian cheese)
• Garden Salad
• Injira
• Dessert: Kita Bemar (Honey bread)

One plate: $10/person including soft drinks.
All you can eat: 25,000LL/person including soft drinks.
(Rahel will only be cooking for the first twenty people this time, so try to be on time!)

Proceeds (and compliments) go to the cook and to help support MCC's activities. Fabulous Ethiopian music will accompany the night.

Rahel Abebe is an Ethiopian chef who has opened her own restaurant right in her living room and called it "Innibla". She has cooked for numerous events, and is a member of the Migrant Community Center (MCC).

Grab your plate while it's hot! See you there!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

MCC End of Year Party!

Join us for a warm Sunday at the Migrant Community Center to celebrate the end of the year, Christmas, MCC Gemmayze's first anniversary, and all what comes along.

It will be a merry, jolly, happy gathering of music, delicious food, children's activities, dancing, and cake!

All you have to do is bring one plate of food to share! We will all be tasting each others' dishes.

12:00PM-1:00PM Gathering with soft drinks
1:00PM-2:00PM Lunch
2:00PM-2:30PM Icebreaker "Bread Activity"
2:30PM-3:00PM Kids' activities (crafts, dancing, Santa visit, and lots of candy)
3:30PM Cake celebration (music, confetti, candles, you name it!)

Everyone is welcome to join!

PS: Feel free to bring along any gifts for MCC and/or the children and leave them under the Christmas tree.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Maid badly injured in failed escape attempt from south Lebanon home


BEIRUT: A Kenyan maid was badly injured Monday after a rope she was using to escape from her employer's third floor apartment snapped.

The rope failed after the woman made it about two-thirds the way down the building in the Nabatieh village of Zibdin in southern Lebanon, according to local news agency Elnashra.

The report said she suffered several bone fractures and was being treated at Nabih Berri Governmental University Hospital in Nabatieh.

The report did not identify the worker, but said she worked for a Lebanese woman with the initials A.M.

It is not uncommon for Lebanese employers to lock their domestic workers inside their homes. The workers resort to tying bed sheets and towels together to scale down buildings to escape abusive employers.

About 200,000 foreign domestic workers are employed in Lebanon under the much-criticized sponsorship system. Human Rights Watch and other organizations have called on Lebanese authorities to address the "high levels of abuse and deaths" of maids in the country.

HRW in 2008 recorded an average of one maid death a week in Lebanon by unnatural causes, including suicides.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Migrant workers join hands for a better life

Many migrant workers around the world suffer from a dearth of fundamental rights at work, including the right to a weekly day off. In the Middle East, some migrants rarely leave their place of work or have the opportunity to meet with fellow workers from their countries. In this photo-reportage, the ILO gives voice to inspiring women and men who choose to use their limited time off to assist fellow migrants in realizing their right to decent work wherever they may be.

Beautiful friends of MCC in this AlJazeera report. Check here.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

PR: The international migrants’ day Between dream and death

By the Egyptian Foundation for Refugee Rights


On the international migrants’ day, the Egyptian Foundation for Refugee rights calls for all the international foundations and the countries of the European union to participate in limiting the death of thousands of refugees seeking stability after being forced to leave their homes in search of a safe haven for their children and families from the ravages of conflicts and disputes inside their countries. As a result, they’re torn in neighboring countries, facing economic and security obstacles as well, trying to live and coexist with these drastic circumstances.

Till they started hearing about countries in the EU with prosperous and safe livelihood circumstances and services from their relatives and acquaintances that survived death during their illegal immigration and were fortunate enough to get to those countries by the notorious death boats, in escape from their countries to attempt and secure a stable and safe future for their children. Then there were the unfortunate ones, who drowned with their infants or got arrested and deported or who survived but lost part of their families and as a result paid the cost from their own lives.

So after the death of so many, we call out to EU countries on behalf of numerous families who lost their lives during one of these death journeys and on behalf of so many who refugees who dream of immigration. We send out this call to all the countries that have the capacity to accommodate these refugees, to come together and to come up with solutions that can limit this disaster through mechanisms and procedures through their embassies in countries that have large amounts of refugees. This would be an attempt to limit the phenomenon of illegal immigration, granted that all the rights of the criteria and conditions that are deemed appropriate are to be decided by European countries and the right to accept or reject applicants based on their rules and policies. Since these countries accept these refugees through irregular immigration if they’re fortunate enough to arrive to their destination, then why not provide a safer alternative?

Accordingly and on the occasion of the international migrants’ day, EFRR appeals to all European countries to participate in the initiative for a more stable security system that the Foundation is working on in 2015. This initiative aims to limit the phenomenon of irregular immigration and to assist refugees in seeking protection and to contribute to the eradication of the refugees’ exploitation by gangs and smuggling networks under the name of the dream of migration.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Abuse and 20 hour shifts: Plight of Nepalese domestic workers seeking 'Gulf Dream'

In July this year, Nepal banned all women from migrating to the Gulf states.
Amid criticism from rights activists, the government has now signalled that the ban would soon be lifted after striking a deal with countries such as Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
Guidelines for domestic workers are also being drafted. The government has proposed a new age limit requiring all domestic workers to be at least 25 years old and that they are employed through proper recruiting agencies.
Full piece on SouthChinaMorningPost

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Migrant Forum in Asia's Statement for International Migrants Day

On 18 December 2014, Migrant Forum in Asia joins migrant communities, migrants’ rights advocates, and human rights defenders around the world in celebrating International Migrants Day. We honour migrant workers worldwide who take considerable risks crossing borders, make many personal sacrifices in pursuit of a better future, and who must fight for basic recognition of their rights. We stand together in this struggle.

Marking 25 Years of the Migrants’ Rights Convention
Today we launch a new year-long campaign, Step It Up: Dignity, Rights, Development, leading up to the 25th Anniversary of the International Convention on the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Family (1990). This Convention reiterates state obligations under international law and specifies the rights that migrant workers and their families can expect governments to uphold. Since its adoption in 1990 and entry into force in 2003, only 47 countries have ratified this convention—an appallingly low ratification rate, particularly given that the Convention reiterates rights that are already enshrined in core international human rights Conventions.

Reform Migrant Labour Recruitment Regimes
Migrant labour recruitment regimes in Asia and globally continue to undermine the human and labour rights of migrant workers. Complex relationships among employment agencies in destination countries, recruitment agencies in countries of origin, and the vast number of independent sub-agents create multiple sites of exploitation. The imposition of authorized and unauthorized recruitment fees, the lack of transparency in recruitment systems, restrictive visa regimes, unethical practices among recruiters and employers, collusion with government officials, and the lack of information available to migrant workers results in rights violations throughout the recruitment process. In response, civil society has mounted a global campaign for Recruitment Reform, through which we support and encourage the emergence of ethical recruitment initiatives, call for the abolishing all recruitment fees and costs, and advocate for government action to curtail contract substitution.

End Forced Labour
Even as we recognize International Migrants’ Day, we stand in solidarity with the 21 million men, women, and children, including migrant workers, who are currently in situations of forced labour. Trafficked, held in debt bondage, and working in slave-like conditions, the victims of forced labour are often invisible and unreachable. In June 2014, the International Labour Organization adopted a Protocol and a Recommendation to supplement the Forced Labour Convention (C29) to guide states in eliminating forced labour.

Respect & Protect the Rights of Domestic Workers
The adoption of the ILO Domestic Workers Convention (C189) in 2011 was a milestone for the protection of migrant women worldwide. This Convention recognizes domestic workers as workers, with rights equal to those of all other workers regardless of citizenship or legal status.This victory was the result of six decades of perseverance on the part of leaders from the domestic worker community, trade unionists, and civil society advocates. Despite themomentum generated during the 2010 and 2011 International Labour Conference, female and male domestic workers continue to experience rights violations in the migration process. At only 16 ratifications, the ratification rate does not reflect the progressive and positive thinking reflected in the comments, statements, and debate among member states at the ILC.

In celebration of International Migrants Day and in recognition of the urgent need for action to support migrants’ rights,

• We call on all governments to “step it up” and demonstrate their commitment to guaranteeing the rights of all migrant workers and members of their family by ratifying the International Convention on the Protection of All Migrant Workers & Members of their Families. We invite all stakeholders to join the Step It Up campaign — www.cmw25.org.

• We call on governments to take urgent action to end the systemic abuses in migrant labour recruitment systems by abolishing all recruitment fees and costs and creating strong mechanisms to eliminate contract substitution. We invite all stakeholders to join the Open Working Group on Labour Migration & Recruitment — www.RecruitmentReform.org

• We call on governments to demonstrate their commitment to eradicating forced labour in all its forms by ratifying the Protocol on Forced Labour, supporting its swift entry into force.

• We call on governments to guarantee the rights of domestic workers by ratifying the Domestic Workers Convention (ILO C189) and immediately incorporating its provisions into national law and policy.

For more information, contact:

William Gois
+63 920 960 0916

Rex Varona
+63 936 952 5051

Tatcee Macabuag
+63 917 526 7171

Agnes Matienzo
+63 998 530 1556

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Statement of Solidarity from the Middle East | #BlackLivesMatter

Statement of Solidarity

We the undersigned groups and individuals in the Middle East and North Africa stand in solidarity with the ongoing protests across the U.S., led by Black communities, following thekilling of Mike Brown by officer Darren Wilson and the decision by a Grand Jurythat Wilson is innocent of any crime. Brown’s death is not the first, and has been followed by many other fatal shootings of people of color by U.S. police. We condemn this violence against Black communities and people of color in all its forms.

We stand in support of the grassroots movement to bring justice to communities of color facing police violence with the complicity of the judicial system. The militarization of the police and its destructive interventions in communities of colorhas pushed many activists/thinkers to highlight the links between U.S wars and occupations inside its borders, and outside it.

It is horrifying to live in a worldwhere Black mothers have to teach their Black sons to avoid being shot by the policefor no reason, or for holding a toygun, for asking for help, for wearing a hoodie. In the face of such crimes without impunity, in the face of colonization and multiple oppressions of indigenouspeoples and communities of color, their anger is justified. We stand in solidarity with people resisting the U.S.white supremacist capitalist regime through boycotts, protests, civildisobedience, as well as through continuing processes of decolonization andresistance that are not as visible to us.

Such solidarity also necessitates that we acknowledge anti-Black racism in the Middle East and North African countries, the marginalization of Black Arabs, as well as the identification with whiteness by many Arabs, and the exploitation of Asian and African workers by the aggressive economies within the Gulf countries particularly, as well as across the Arab region. We remainengaged in changing our realities through fighting racism, classism and marginalization.

We the undersigned groups and individuals wish to honor the legacy of Black power and the civil rights movement in emancipation and equality, and its influence in supporting many ofthe national emancipation efforts within our region, and in reminding us that systems of oppression will always be dismantled. Black communities are not alone. Their lives matter, and their longing for justice must be granted byending the constant violation based on gender, race and class.

We admire those individuals and groups mobilizing against injustice in U.S cities and streets, through individual and group initiatives; we salute their anger and their heroic determination in demanding justice and peace.

Source: Sawtalniswa community

Sawtalniswa community - Lebanon

Socialist Forum - Lebanon

Anti Racism Movement - Lebanon

Radical Beirut- Lebanon

Revolutionary Left Movement in Syria

Syrian Revolution Support Bases

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Indian Dinner!

Delicious Indian food this Saturday night by the Migrant Community Center- Lebanon!

Join us for delicious Indian cuisine cooked by the talented Anna this Saturday night at Nasawiya Cafe in Mar Mikhael!


• Butter Chicken (hot and mild options available)
• White Rice
• Indian Salad
• Fried Vegetable Dumplings

One plate: $10/person including soft drinks.
All you can eat: 25,000LL/person including soft drinks.

Proceeds (and compliments) go to the cook and to help support MCC's activities. Fabulous Indian Bollywood music will accompany the night.

Grab your plate while it's hot! See you there!

Event here.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Filipinos in Lebanon

Full piece on CRegister.

BEIRUT - She wakes up before the rest of the family, prepares their breakfast and begins a long day of cleaning the house, washing clothes, cooking and taking care of the children.

Yet she's always thinking of her own family some 8,000 kilometres away.

Such is a typical scenario for the approximately 30,000 Filipinos in Lebanon, most of whom are women working as domestic helpers. Theirs are lives of service and sacrifice to earn money to send to their families back home.

The Philippine government said that in 2013, more than 1.8 million Filipinos were employed in other countries, and this did not include seafarers. The money that workers send home represents more than 13 per cent of the nation's gross domestic product.

Maria Almanon, 43, of the Philippines' Aklan province, earns $300 a month — the typical salary in Beirut for a live-in domestic worker. When the mother of four came to Lebanon five years ago, her youngest child was just five, and her oldest was 16.

Almanon has returned to the Philippines only once, last year, to visit her children and husband, a farmer. That was just before Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines in November 2013 and washed away their house and completely wiped out her husband's rice crop.

Her family is still in temporary living quarters in Aklan and, since Haiyan, her husband has yet to reap a harvest, for which he earned $200 to $300 a month. In addition to her family's daily needs, there are college tuition payments for her son.

"It's a big burden for me, because there is no other work for my husband," Almanon told Catholic News Service as she gathered with her friends after English Mass at St. Joseph Church in Beirut. The heaviness of her responsibility showed in her wearied expression.

"I was so worried and crying all the time," she recalled of being in Lebanon during the 2013 typhoon. She expressed relief that the worst of Typhoon Hagupit, which first made landfall Dec. 5, seemed to have passed.

Not being able to carry out her role as a wife and mother in the day-to-day routine of family life causes Almanon anguish.

"I'm always thinking and worrying about my children," she said. "Being so far away, it's very difficult, I feel so helpless. At least if we are all together as a family, we can face problems together, and I can be there for my children."

Almanon looks forward to the spiritual nourishment she receives every Sunday during Mass and the gatherings afterward upstairs at the Afro-Asian Migrant Centre.

Since 1984, two Jesuits — American Fr. Martin McDermott and Dutch Fr. Theo Vlugt — have served as full-time chaplains to the Afro-Asian migrant mission in Lebanon.

Lebanon is host to about 200,000 Afro-Asian workers, "pushed by poverty to work abroad to obtain a salary to send home," Vlugt told CNS. "They are in a foreign country, with a different culture and customs, different food, different languages. Everything is different for them."

"But the Church is the one place that feels just like home, where they can come together and celebrate," Vlugt added during a post-Mass potluck lunch prepared by the migrant community.

"We first are pastoral workers, to keep them going to Mass, to receive Communion, to pray and gather together," he said of his mission with McDermott. "If they (the migrant workers) don't have this, they face difficulties and temptations."

McDermott, who was visiting the United States in December, once told CNS of his work with the Afro-Asian community in Lebanon: "This is the kingdom of God."

McDermott serves as spiritual advisor to Couples for Christ, a Catholic movement intended for the renewal and strengthening of Christian family life, founded in the Philippines in 1981. Couples for Christ was established in Lebanon in 1999 and currently has 120 members, most of whom are Filipinos.

The group meets after Mass for a household prayer meeting and fellowship.

"Before, I used to pray, 'Lord give me ...,' but through the community I've learned to thank Him for the blessings I have," Niza Gallardo of Iligan, Philippines, told CNS.

Gallardo has been working in Lebanon as a domestic helper for 20 years. The 45-year-old woman sends the money she earns to help support some of her eight adult siblings, many of whom have no work, as well as to nieces and nephews.

"If I have, I give," she said. "Especially when you are in the service of the Lord, this is the right thing to do."

Like her fellow migrant workers, Gallardo's life has not turned out as she had imagined.

"I wanted to be married to a nice man," she admitted with a giggle.

When Pope Benedict came to Lebanon in 2012, a large group of the migrants from the St. Joseph community attended the Mass at Beirut's waterfront.

Now they are excited for Pope Francis' visit to the Philippines Jan. 15-19.

"My hope for the Pope's visit is that our country can live in harmony, that people will love one another," Gallardo said.

Market Time!

Migrant Communities Market this Sunday! Come by for some delicious food, beautiful handcrafted items, and maybe pick up an original Christmas gift for a loved one!

Fb event and all details here <3

Unprotected Childhood; the experiences of Lebanese and Non-Lebanese children in abuse maltreatment and discrimination in Lebanon

On the 10th of December and on the occasion of the International Human Rights Day, Insan launched a new report examining the situation of children, both migrant and Lebanese, in Lebanon.

The final report reveals the particular vulnerabilities of children of migrants to child labor, abuse and maltreatment compared to their Lebanese counterparts. Children of migrants both documented and undocumented were less likely to be registered. They were also more likely to take part in child labor. The research also finds that children of migrants are more likely to be subjected to neglect and sexual abuse.

Full report on this link.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Shebaik Lebaik: A Performance by Migrant Workers

The MWTF team is very pleased to invite you to "Shebaik Lebaik" a play that is starring our students and that comes as a joint project between Catharsis and MWTF. The play will be performed on the 13th and the 14th of December at 8 PM, and both performances will be followed by a Q&A session on legal and social issues involving migrant workers in Lebanon.

The session on the 14th of December will be attended by the Minister of Labor M. Sejaan Azzi which can present as an interesting opportunity to expose the views of NGOs and activists working in Lebanon on Migrant Workers rights and to open a debate on the topic.

We really value your opinion and we would really appreciate it if you can make it to the performance on that day and be part of this discussion.

Please confirm attendance (to reserve the limited seats) by calling: 03-162573 or 09-914932.

اسمي عمر حرفوش، وأنا أحد المنسقين في الMigrant Workers Task Force التّي تعطي صفوفاً للعمال الأجانب منذ أكثر من أربعة سنين.

نتشرّف بدعوتكم-كنّ الى مسرحيّة "شبيك لبيك"، مشروع مشترك بين جمعيّة كاثرسيس وجمعيّة MWTF، من بطولة تلاميذنا. ستعرض المسرحيّة في يومي ال13 وال14 من ديسمبر، وسيلي العرضين جلسة أسئلة وأجوبة عن قضايا العمّال الأجانب االاجتماعيّة والقانونيّة في لبنان.

وسيحضرالجلسة في ال14 من ديسمبر وزير العمل الأستاذ سجعان قزّي، الأمر الذي قد يفتح مجال لمناقشة وجهات نظر الجمعيّات التي تعنى بحقوق العمّال الأجانب.

انّنا نقدّر ارائكم-كنّ ونتمنّى حضوركم-كنّ العرض في ذلك النهار والمشاركة في هذا النقاش.

نرجو منكم-منكنّ تأكيد الحضور (لحجز عدد الأماكن) عبر الاتصال على الأرقام: 03-162573 أو 09-914932

بأمل حضوركم-كنّ.

مع أطيب التحيّات.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

بيان صحفي لمبادرة ديكوستامين

بيان صحفي لمبادرة ديكوستامين بالشراكة مع منتدى الخابور المدني-مكتب لبنان..بعد اعلان جبهة النصرة عن قتلها للجندي اللبناني علي البزال..

منذ بداية انطلاقة مبادرة "ديكوستامين " كفكرة ...أعلنت موقفاً واضحاً ضد العنف في لبنان بكل اشكاله..وموقفاً واضحاً في وجه محاولات نقل الحريق السوري إلى لبنان..وكل التصرفات العنصرية الإنتقامية اتجاه اللاجئين السوريين ،وضد تعميم الكراهية المتبادلة بينهم وبين أهلهم في لبنان عبر الإعتداءات العشوائية في أماكن تواجدهم وتحميلهم مسؤولية الأفعال الإجرامية لجماعات لاتمثلهم ولاتمت لهم بصلة..كما أعلنت موقفا واضحاً يدين ..دخول أي عناصر مسلحة سورية إلى الأراضي اللبنانية،كما ادانت المواجهات التي تورطت فيها تلك العناصر مع الجيش الوطني اللبناني. ووقفت.ضد قتل الجنود اللبنانيين واختطافهم،واعتبرت مبادرة ديكوستامين أن خطف الجنود وعملية الإنتقام منهم وتصفيتهم جسدياً ،جريمة بشعة ومدانة ونقف في وجهها ووجه مرتكبيها أياً كانوا..ومن هذا المنطلق فإننا في مبادرة ديكوستامين وباسم جميع أعضائها..

كما باسم جميع أهلنا اللاجئين السوريين في لبنان،والذين لاذنب لهم بتلك الجريمة البشعة..جريمة قتل الجندي علي البزال..نعلن ادانتنا لهذه الجريمة ،ونعزي أهل الجندي علي البزال..ونقف إلى جانبهم بكل قلوبنا ،كما نعزي أهلنا اللبنانيين ،والجيش اللبناني..ونعلن وقوفنا إلى جانب السلطة الشرعية للدولة اللبنانية والجيش اللبناني....وبراءتنا كسوريين من أفعال تلك المجموعات المسلحة ومن جريمتها بحق لبنان...وندعو جميع أهلنا في لبنان الى تبريئ أهلنا السوريين اللاجئين من أي أفعال انتقامية ،وعدم تحميلهم وزر تلك الجريمة البشعة..كما ندين أية اعتداءات على الإبرياء من اللاجئين ونعتبرها كذلك جريمة لاتقل بشاعة عن جريمة قتل الجنود اللبنانيين بدم بارد...ندعوكم لنقف معاً ،وجنبا ً إلى جنب في وجه كل مظاهر العنف ولوثة الدم والإنتقام..ولنكون يداً واحدة في وجه كل الجرائم أياً كان مرتكبيها....

الرحمة لشهداء الجيش اللبناني والعزاء لذويهم وللشعب اللبناني.
والرحمة للأبرياء من المدنيين السوريين اللاجئين.
وليكن السلام على لبنان وشعبه،كما على اللاجئين السوريين.

اللجنة التأسيسية لمبادرة ديكوستامين.
ومنتدى الخابور المدني -مكتب لبنان.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Rita's Letter

'I feel like a slave, a working machine slave, sleep late, wake up early, you eat, you don't eat, you sort yourself. once in a while guilt strikes them then you eat 'good'. most times its just you and God.'

Link to old letter.

Not getting off their back, yet: why activists still skeptical of GCC's band aid labour reforms

Full piece on AlBawaba

About 15 million migrant workers of which a majority hail from Asia are employed in the Gulf. Despite a recent agreement to improve their situation, activist pressure is set to continue as many controversial issues remain in place.
Wealthy Gulf nations have agreed on measures to improve the working and living conditions of migrant workers who constitute a substantial segment, if not the majority, in a number of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states. The measures constitute a bid to fend off more far-reaching demands by human rights and trade union activists who no longer exclusively target Qatar because of its hosting of the 2022 World Cup but the region at large.
The measures agreed at a meeting of labour ministers of the GCC that groups Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman, and 12 Asian labour supply nations, including India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh and the Philippines, came amid a recent flurry of condemnatory reports by human rights organizations and trade unions. The reports tackle the plight of domestic workers in the Gulf and human rights in the UAE. A Human Rights Watch report on migrant labour in the Emirates is scheduled for publication in January.
The Gulf’s approach, said Human Rights Watch’s Nicholas McGeehan, can “neatly be summarised as electronic wage payment + better housing + aggressive response to dissent. One would assume that the theory goes that better housing will get the western press off your back, ensuring payment will seriously reduce likelihood of protest, and collective deportations will send out a clear message to any workers giving thought to sticking their heads above the parapet. It's a badly conceived strategy.

#BBCTrending: Filipina maid rescued after video plea

Full piece on BBC.

This Filipina domestic worker was taken from abusive employer's home to her consulate shortly after her video of her horrible living conditions went viral. It goes to show how helpful technology and social media can be when your job involves being trapped in someone else's house! If only every domestic worker in Lebanon was required to have a phone and internet access, abuse and impunity might finally start to decrease.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Ethiopian Night by Rahel

Join us for a delicious dinner of authentic Ethiopian cuisine cooked by our very own Rahel this Sunday night at Nasawiya Cafe in Mar Mikhael!


• Michwet (beef with red sauce)
• Mixed Fried Vegetables
• Misir Wet (made with lentils)
• Shero Wet (Ethiopian hummus)
• Injira
• Dessert: Kita Bemar (Honey bread)

Price: $10/person including soft drinks.

Proceeds (and compliments) go to the cook and to help support MCC's activities. Fabulous Ethiopian music will accompany the night.

Rahel Abebe is an Ethiopian chef who has opened her own restaurant right in her living room and called it "Innibla". She has cooked for numerous events, and is a member of the Migrant Community Center (MCC).

Grab your plate while it's hot! See you there!

Fb event link

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

حملة جديدة لمناهضة العنصرية ضد اللاجئين والعمال السوريين

خاص “إحقاق

يقوم ناشطون بحملة جديدة لمناهضة العنصريّة ضد اللاجئين السوريين في لبنان، ولكن هذه المرّة، ليس على صفحات التواصل الإجتماعي فقط، أو ضمن حدود منطقة بعينها.

فقد إستفاقت منطقة مارمخايل (بيروت)، الأسبوع الماضي، على مناشير دعت إلى “رفع الأيادي العنصرية عن اللاجئين والعمال السوريين”، محمّلة الدولة اللبنانية مسؤولية خطف الجنود اللبنانيين، وهي الحادثة التي أدت إلى تزايد حدّة التوتر بين اللاجئين السوريين على الخصوص، والمجتمعات اللبنانية المحلية المضيفة (أنظر|ي معرض الصور على الصفحة الرئيسية)، على خلفية اتهام أوساط اللاجئين بإيواء العناصر المقاتلة التي يعتقد رسمياً أنها شاركت في عملية الخطف تلك.

ووصفت المناشير الجهود الرسمية بهذا الصدد بأنّها “لم تسع قط إلى حماية حياة مواطنيها”، ضاربة المثل بقضية المفقودين اللبنانيين في سجون النظام السوري، ومتهمة الدولة بأنّها “لم تكن مهتمة بتحرير الأسرى اللبنانيين في السجون السورية من قبل، أو حتى السجون الاسرائيلية، وهي اليوم لا تحرك جفناً أمام استمرار خطف الجنود اللبنانيين لدى داعش”، بحسب تعبير منظمي الحملة التي وقعت باسم “لجنة مناهضة العنصرية والطائفية”.

وسأل البيان الذي وزّع في عدة مناطق في العاصمة بيروت، واطلعت عليه “إحقاق”، عن الجهة التي من الأولى توجيه “الغضب” نحوها، مستنكراً ما تعرض له اللاجئون إبّان عملية الخطف، واصفاً إياهم بأنهم “لا علاقة لهم بتاتاً بعملية الخطف”.

ولا تتوفر أية معلومات حتّى الآن عن القيمين على الحملة التي يبدو أنها نشطت قبل أسابيع، حيث نشرت “جمعية دعم لبنان” على موقعها صوراً التقطت لمناشير مشابهة تم توزيعها في مناطق أخرى من بيروت منها “عين الرمانة”، و”فرن الشباك”، و”الحدث”.

نص المنشور الموزّع:

إلى أهالينا في منطقة الجميزة ومارمخايل

ثلاثة جنود قتلوا. محمد حميّة وعلي السيّد وعباس مدلج. والد الشهيد محمد حمية، طلب من الجميع أن “لا يخطئوا بحق احد من النازحين السوريين لأنهم أهلنا”. أمّا عائلة الرقيب علي السيّد فشدّدت على ضرورة عدم تحميل النازحين السوريين وزر غيرهم مشيرة إلى أنهم ضحية الظلم والإجرام في بلدهم. ودعت للمحافظة عليهم وإعانتهم. وفي عزاء عباس مدلج قيل “وإذا كان داعش ومن خلفه يخطط لفتنة في هذا الوطن فنحن سنطفئ نار الفتنة ولا نعتدي على أحد من النازحين السوريين، وقيمنا أن لا نعتدي على الآخرين”. أمّا لجنة أهالي المخطوفين العسكريين فصرّحت في بيان لها أنّها “ضد أي اعتداء على أي نازح سوري”.

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 هي الدولة 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.

لجنة مناهضة الطائفية والعنصرية – الجميزة ومارمخايل

10 Countries With The Most Slaves

Full piece on Huffpost.


"While many believe slavery is an issue of the past, it remains a real, yet largely hidden, problem. An estimated 35.8 million people are enslaved worldwide, according to a recent report by the Walk Free Foundation, a human rights organization.
Modern-day slavery differs from traditional slavery. In traditional slavery, which is illegal in each of the 167 countries reviewed in the 2014 Global Slavery Index, people were considered legal property. However, modern slavery, which is defined as possession or control of a person that deprives them of their rights with the intention of exploiting them, exists in each of the 167 nations.
In some countries, the number of enslaved people is especially high. Five countries alone account for 61% of all people believed to be living in modern slavery, and 70% of all enslaved people live in 10 countries. India had the highest number of people living in modern slavery, at over 14 million. Based on figures from the 2014 Global Slavery Index, these are the countries with the most slaves."

Monday, December 1, 2014

The UAE Guestworker System Is Inhumane

The plight of migrant workers in the United Arab Emirates has made news for the second time this year.

First there was the New York Times story on the inhumane treatment and near–indentured servitude of construction workers at New York University’s campus in Abu Dhabi. Then last month, Human Rights Watch published a report on the horrifying abuses migrant domestic workers suffer in the U.A.E..

Full article link on Indy Blog.

12 Asian Countries, Gulf Cooperation Council Talk on Migrants

Full piece on the DailyStar.


"A wage protection programme, speedier labour dispute settlement, skill development and pre-departure orientation were among the measures Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) decided to undertake to improve the work and living conditions of around 15 million foreign workers. [...] However, the much criticised “kafala” (sponsorship) system, making it mandatory for workers to get their sponsor's consent when changing jobs, was not raised at the conference, said Kuwaiti Minister of Social Affairs and Labour Hind Al Subaih."