Few rights and low pay for migrant workers in Lebanon

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Jun 23 2008

With employers frequently abusing their rights, a legal system that ensures them no protection and rights groups that aren't , the situation of domestic migrant workers in Lebanon is very bleak.

“I have only six months left and then I will go back to the Congo,” says Angelique, speaking to IRIN from across the balcony the next morning. “You see, Madame has cut off all of my hair. Every day I clean and cook. I sleep on the floor in the kitchen and I can’t take any more of this life.”

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“Even the dogs are allowed to go out but we’re stuck,” says Angelique, who did not want to give her real name for fear of retribution. “We’re like slaves here.” Angelique earns just US$100 a month, three times below the minimum wage, and sends all of it home to Congo.

Due to the absence of legal protection, several countries have placed restrictions on travel to Lebanon.

[T]he absence of protection for their nationals has prompted key labour-source countries to restrict travel to Lebanon. Ethiopia officially bans its citizens from coming to work in Lebanon, while since November 2007, migrant Philippine workers are only legally permitted to travel to Lebanon if paid a minimum of $400 per month. Currently, the set rate is $200 for Philippines, $100 for Africans and $150 per month for Sri Lankan workers.

Sri Lanka is now considering banning women migrant domestic workers from going to many countries in the Middle East, including Lebanon, starting in 2009

The IRIN report can be read here.

Advancing the rights of migrant workers throughout the Middle East