Backed by the United Nations, the Girl Up campaign in Lebanon has launched a petition calling on the Lebanese government to end the Kafala system. The petition already has over 25,000 signatures and counting.
Lebanese activists have long been calling to dismantle this unregulated and inhuman system of neo-slavery.
The Kafala system contracts give little to no rights to migrant workers in Lebanon, and the little is often breached since the Kafala renders them totally subservient to their employers.
That status becomes abusive and even enslaving when employers don’t acknowledge the principles of human values and mistreat their house helpers.
While it isn’t the case with all Lebanese employers, there have been too many incidents of abuses and oppressions “permitted” by the Kafala, which makes house helpers vulnerable and unprotected by the law.
When employers don’t deem the house helper, aka the person contracted to help them at home, a human, she gets mistreated and her life becomes unbearable in the confinement of the house with no way out of her misery.
Unfortunately, the master-slave attitude does exist with some, and not a few, employers who expect and even impose unconditional servitude with total disregard for human dignity.
Activism campaigns have been many against the Kafala but there has been little awareness to educate the society in general against this inhuman disgraceful mentality. And the Kafala System is there to officially give authority to that heartless attitude.
Fact is, the Kafala System is not only offensive to migrant workers, it’s a shame to our country. It should be deemed as such by all those who are fighting for a better Lebanon free of oppression and injustice.
The Lebanese General Security’s intelligence agency estimates that two domestic workers die in Lebanon every week while either trying to escape or by taking their own lives.
That shouldn’t be acceptable to any Lebanese nor should it be taken lightly as if it doesn’t concern our nation.
By the way of reasoning, when Lebanese citizens migrate for work, becoming themselves foreign workers in host countries, we would be totally outraged if they would be similarly mistreated and abused by their contract and for the length of it.
Lucky for them, there is no Kafala system that enslaves them in these foreign countries to render them as vulnerable as the migrant workers in Lebanon.