ILO study

Migrant domestic workers lack adequate access to justice in Lebanon

The ILO and Caritas find wide-ranging legal, procedural and institutional barriers to justice for migrant domestic workers in Lebanon.

بيان صحفي | ١٣ يونيو, ٢٠١٤
ILO News (Beirut) - A joint study conducted by the ILO and the Lebanese branch of the non-governmental organisation (NGO) Caritas has found that migrant domestic workers lack access to judicial due process and are further marginalised as a result. The findings of the study were presented at a workshop in Beirut Lebanon on Friday (June 13) attended by representatives from Lebanon’s Ministries of Labour, Justice, and Interior as well as officials from migrant domestic workers’ countries of origin, social partners, and NGOs. Legal practitioners from the Institute for Human Rights of the Beirut Bar Association and the Institute of Judicial Studies at Lebanon’s Ministry of Justice were also in attendance.

Entitled Access to Justice of Migrant Domestic Workers in Lebanon the report builds on a previous ILO study published in 2013 by analysing 730 domestic worker cases supported by Caritas to map out the legal, procedural and institutional challenges faced by migrant domestic workers seeking justice in Lebanon. The study identified various barriers to justice ranging from the exclusion of domestic workers from protection under Lebanon’s Labour Code, the difficulty of establishing proof, marginalization of migrant domestic workers exerted by various stakeholders including the judiciary, and a lack of awareness among migrant workers in Lebanon of legal procedures.

“Migrant domestic workers who are victim of labour exploitation and human trafficking want to be recognized as such and compensated for losses incurred,” says Frank Hagemann, Deputy Regional Director of the ILO Regional Office for the Arab States. “What the study affirms is that the road to justice is a long and complex one fraught with many barriers to justice for migrant domestic workers. There is no doubt that there is an urgent need for the government of Lebanon and the judiciary to streamline judicial due process in order to make the road more navigable. The ILO stands ready to assist in this important quest.”

The ILO and Caritas recommend a number of measures be taken to close the gap in terms of protection of migrant domestic workers in Lebanon. The measures include reforming the sponsorship system to halt classification of migrant domestic workers as illegal residents when they leave their employers, the inclusion of domestic work in Lebanon’s Labour Code, full implementation of Lebanese anti-trafficking law as well as improving the regulation and monitoring of migrant worker private recruitment agencies.

For media queries, contact:
Reham Rached
Communications Assistant
Department of Communication
ILO Regional Office for Arab States
Tel: +961 1 752 400 (Ext 108)