Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Migrant workers in Lebanon

Thanks to the African blogger, black looks, for pointing out the plight of the tens of thousands of “African and South Asian migrants amongst the displaced in Lebanon. Unlike other foreign nationals from the Middle East and the West, who have been evacuated by their respective governments, this group have largely been left to fend for themselves without money or papers. Many of them at the lowest strata of society and in a foreign land. It is estimated that there are some 20,000 Ethiopians as well as Nigerians, Ghanaians, Sudanese, Somalis, Sri Lankans and the largest group (90,000) Filipinos working in domestic servitude, as migrant or forced labour and the sex industry in Lebanon.”

Some but not all of these migrants workers are part of an international industry in people trafficking. As I have pointed out
before there are some 12.3 million slaves in the world today. As Black Looks describes it: “In Africa as elsewhere in the South, the majority poor and dispossessed subsidise the lifestyle of the minority world enabled by a system of dehumanization based on cultural, religious, ethnic and racial difference. Psychologically it is easier to oppress someone who is regarded as different and with whom you can distance yourself. In this way, Nigerian children are taking to Senegal to work in domestic servitude and Senegalese children are taken to Ghana. One ethnic group becomes forced labour or sexual slaves for another in a tit for tat series of exchanges that encompasses the whole world. Going outside one’s own community also makes it more difficult for those trafficked to escape. The further you take someone away from their home the more difficult it is for them to find their way back - trapped in distance, language, culture, bonded-debt and in the case of Lebanon abandoned in a war zone thousands of miles from home.”


sokari said...

Thanks for appreciating the write up.

Renegade Eye said...

"Black Looks" is a gem of a blog. It linked to me, before I even heard of it.

Wwll written post, about something not talked too much about.

AN said...

Yeah I found it from
which dies a round up of African blogs every week. The pambazuka site is an excellent corrective to the image we get in the west of Africa. Usually we only get images of war or famine, showing Africans as victims. Whereas Africans as the creators of their own history, politics and destiny are usually ignored.

Anonymous said...

* Urgent appeal from Lebanese unions
* Online campaigns work! Reports from Indonesia and Costa Rica
* How to run successful health and safety campaigns



The Education International, representing teachers' unions around the
world, has issued an urgent action appeal in support of requests for
humanitarian assistance from two Lebanese teachers' unions.
is assisting by providing a secure online way to donate in your own
currency using your credit or debit card. Please give generously



Two recent LabourStart campaigns have already produced solid results

In Indonesia, we ran a very large campaign in support of striking
security guards employed by Group 4 Securicor. Over 6,400 of you sent
off messages. That campaign has ended with a very big victory for the
workers -- who have returned to work and today received their back pay.
LabourStart has continuing coverage of this struggle here:

Meanwhile, Albino Vargas, General Secretary of ANEP in Costa Rica,
to us: "We were really impressed with so much solidarity; it was very
valuable, very timely and really raised our morale for continuing the
battle against this pernicious Central American Free Trade Agreement
the neoliberal policies of President Oscar Arias Sanchez. For the time
being, things have quietened down. The most brutal anti-union attacks
from the far-right have stopped. The multi-million dollar pro-CAFTA
campaign has also stopped. It seems there is a kind of stand-off of
and anti-CAFTA forces. However, we are sure that we will have to pursue
the struggle on the streets in the days ahead, so we would like all our
friends from all the organisations who've given us so much solidarity
stay alert to news of the social struggle of the people of Costa Rica."



The University of California Occupational Health Program has just
produced a book that everyone who is concerned with health and safety
issues will want. It's called "Tools of the Trade: A Health and Safety
Handbook for Action" and it includes examples of successful workplace
health and safety campaigns as well as strategies to actively engage
workers in advocating for their own protection. The book features
specific tools for winning safety improvements, such as collecting
information, using legal rights, and working with the community. It's
LabourStart's book of the week -- order your copies today:

Make sure your union is running the LabourStart/Hazards health and
safety newswire with the very latest news on your websites. Full
details are here:

See this site in general,

and this one in particular,

for news on the situation of workers in Lebanon ...

>> Arieh Lebowitz
>> Senior Correspondent
>> Labourstart