Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Maids in Lebanon: the horrible truth...

LEBANON must improve working conditions for migrant domestic workers, who often commit suicide or die while trying to escape from their employers, a US-based rights group says.
Human Rights Watch said there were an estimated 200,000 maids in Lebanon, including those with illegal status, mostly from Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Ethiopia.

Out of about 95 foreign housemaids who died in Lebanon since January 2007, 40 deaths were classified by their embassies as suicides and 24 as workers falling from high buildings, often trying to escape their employers.

"Domestic workers are dying in Lebanon at a rate of more than one per week," said Nadim Houry, senior researcher at Human Rights Watch.

"All those involved - from the Lebanese authorities to the workers' embassies, to the employment agencies, to the employers - need to ask themselves what is driving these women to kill themselves or risk their lives trying to escape from high buildings."

The rights group called on a committee created in 2006 to improve workers' conditions, to investigate the causes of these deaths and develop a concrete national strategy to reduce them.
The Labour Ministry, which leads the committee, was not immediately available for comment. Source...

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