Kuwaitis queue up to fill their cars with fuel at a petrol station in Kuwait City on August 31, 2016 on the eve of increased petrol prices. A UN rights expert on Thursday urged Kuwait to abolish its “kafala” system for foreign workers which has long been criticized as a form of bonded labor or even slavery.
The following is a transcript of the eighty-fifth in a series of Capitol Hill conferences convened by the Middle East Policy Council. The meeting was held at the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, DC, on July 12, 2016, with Richard J. Schmierer, chairman of the board of directors of the Middle East Policy Council, moderating, and Thomas R. Mattair, Council executive director, serving as discussant. The video can be accessed at www.mepc.org.
Une employée de maison battue et mordue par son employeuse pour avoir refusé de lui céder son téléphone portable : au Liban, les violences contres les travailleuses domestiques sont monnaie courante. Originaires d’Afrique ou d’Asie, elles sont environ 250 000 à vivre et travailler au Pays du Cèdre, où leurs conditions de vie et de travail sont souvent difficiles. Le gouvernement libanais ne leur est pas d’une grande aide : il refuse toujours de reconnaître l’existence légale du premier syndicat des travailleuses domestiques, créé en 2015.
Lebanon is currently host to more than 170,000 migrant domestic workers (MDW) distributed across a number of African and Asian nationalities. Their work conditions have recently been the subject of a number of case studies, documentaries, and newspaper articles. However, most discussions lack a solid factual basis, due to the dearth of data on the subject. This survey, commissioned by the International Labour Organization (ILO), aims to enrich the debate on the rights of migrant workers in Lebanon by shedding light on various facets of the living and work conditions of MDWs in Lebanon.
The ILO estimates that 2.1 million people are engaged in domestic work across the Middle East and North
Africa. With increased participation of
women in the labour force across the region, families have become more and more reliant on migrant domestic workers to supplement their social care needs as a way of coping with inadequate public services and unaffordable private sector providers. The overwhelming majority of migrant domestic workers are women from Asian and African countries such as Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Nepal, Indonesia and Ethiopia.