Lebanon: Ethiopian Maid Commits Suicide

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Oct 23 2009

Al-Akhbar reported today that an Ethiopian maid, Matene Kebede Zeditu (born 1983), was found hanging from an olive tree in Haris, southern Lebanon. An investigation has taken place, but it is yet to arrive to any conclusions. Fingerprints and photographs were taken at the scene of the suicide.

The investigation of this crime must include earnest attempts to understand the causes of the suicide. An abusive employer or poor living conditions may well have triggered this. A study conducted by Human Rights Watch in 2008 has shown that on average, one migrant worker looses is life from unnatural causes every week in Lebanon. Interviews with embassy staff and family of workers who committed suicide or died while attempting to escape suggested that the main causes for these desperate actions are forced confinement, excessive work demands, employer abuse, and financial pressures.

Advancing the rights of migrant workers throughout the Middle East