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Tens of thousands of workers trapped in highly abusive conditions

Lebanon’s restrictive and exploitative kafala (sponsorship) system traps tens of thousands of migrant domestic workers in highly abusive conditions amounting, at worst, to modern slavery. The law fails to protect the workers, and the establishment…
Protestors holding banners calling for the abolishment of Lebanon's controversial kafala sponsorship system.
Report
Summary As the harmful effects of immigration detention become more widely known and the appropriateness of detaining migrants is increasingly questioned, governments are looking at alternatives to detention as more humane and rights-respecting…
Report
Summary Syria is a death country, a kidnapping country. Anyone coming back will lose their money or their life. — Salam, 26, from al-Jeza in Daraa Syrian refugees who voluntarily returned to Syria between 2017 and 2021 from Lebanon and Jordan…
Video
(Beirut) – Syrian refugees who returned to Syria between 2017 and 2021 from Lebanon and Jordan faced grave human rights abuses and persecution at the hands of the Syrian government and affiliated militias, Human Rights Watch…
News

Adopt Rights-Respecting Contract for Migrant Domestic Workers

(Beirut) – Lebanon’s Labor Ministry should urgently adopt a new standard unified contract that respects and protects the rights of migrant domestic workers as a first step toward abolishing the abusive kafala (sponsorship) system, Human Rights Watch…
Protestors holding banners calling for the abolishment of Lebanon's controversial kafala sponsorship system.
News

Al-Dika Case Illustrates Failure to Follow Procedures

(Beirut) – Lebanese judicial authorities failed to investigate serious torture allegations made by Hassan al-Dika prior to his death in custody, Human Rights Watch said today, on the two-year anniversary of the passage of an anti-torture law.…
Hassan al-Dika © Private
News

Longtime Residents Facing Deportation, Separation

(Beirut) – Lebanon’s General Security has detained a Sudanese-Sri Lankan family of seven, including four children under age 18, threatening to deport the parents to different countries for lacking residency papers, the Anti-…
People wave a Lebanese national flag during a protest in Central Beirut December 11, 2006.
News

Forced to Sign “Voluntary” Return Forms; Risk of Serious Harm

(Beirut) – Lebanon summarily deported at least 16 Syrians, some of them registered refugees, on April 26, 2019 after they arrived at the Beirut airport, Human Rights Watch, the Lebanese Center for Human Rights (CLDH), Legal Agenda,…
Members of the Lebanese General Security Directorate oversee Syrian refugees boarding a bus to take them home to Syria, in the northern Beirut suburb of Burj Hammoud, Lebanon, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019. © 2019 AP Photo/Bilal Hussein
News

Itani Case Shouldn’t Be Heard by Military Courts

UPDATE:  Ziad Itani told Human Rights Watch that after his hearing on April 12, 2019, the military prosecution decided to return the case to the civilian judiciary. (Beirut) – Lebanese judicial authorities should move the Ziad Itani…
Zaid Itani
News

Allocate Sufficient Budget; Investigate Allegations

(Beirut) – Lebanon’s Council of Ministers on March 7, 2019 appointed the five members of the country’s National Preventative Mechanism against Torture, Human Rights Watch said today. Lebanon’s parliament passed a law…
Ziad Itani, a Lebanese actor, who was exonerated of spying for Israel, is carried after he was released by Lebanese authorities. Itani has accused security officials of torturing him and has called on authorities to investigate.
News

Ziad Itani’s Account a Test Case for Country’s New Torture Law

(Beirut) – Ziad Itani, the well-known actor exonerated of spying for Israel, has described in detail his forced disappearance in Lebanon and torture in detention, Human Rights Watch said today. On May 29, 2018, military investigative judge, Riad…
Zaid Itani
News

The London summit this week could kick-start the revival of the stalled reform process in the region – but won’t if human rights and the rule of law stay off the agenda

  Western Balkan and European Union leaders meet in London this week for a summit that could be a chance to revive stalled reforms and focus attention on critical issues. Unfortunately, there is every chance it will turn out to be full of hot…
Migrants are seen in front of a dorm destroyed during Bosnian 1992-1995 war, in Bihac, Bosnia and Herzegovina May 11, 2018.
News

Release Investigation into Why 4 Syrians Died

(Beirut) – Lebanon’s army should release the findings of its investigation into the deaths a year ago of four Syrians in custody, Human Rights Watch said today. Despite evidence of torture, the military prosecutor announced on July 24,…
A Lebanese soldier at an army post in the hills above the Lebanese town of Arsal
News
  Some politicians in Lebanon, host to the world’s largest per capita refugee population, are looking for signs that it may be safe for Syrian refugees to go home, even as the violence there continues.  Seven years into the Syria…
Bar Elias, a town in Lebanon’s Bekaa valley, has become home to Syrian refugees who were evicted from the Rayak air base, and have settled here in informal encampments.
News

Expulsions by Municipalities Appear Discriminatory, Lack Due Process

  (Beirut) – At least 13 municipalities in Lebanon have forcibly evicted at least 3,664 Syrian refugees from their homes and expelled them from the municipalities, apparently because of their nationality or religion, while another 42,000…
A clothesline in an informal tent settlement in Bar Elias, Bekaa Governorate, Lebanon. Refugees evicted from the Rayak air base area settled here in January 2018. The refugees say there was no procedure, no written notice, no opportunity to discuss or cha
News

Grant Access to Asylum Procedures; Hold Abusers Accountable

(New York) –Yemeni government officials have tortured, raped, and executed migrants and asylum seekers from the Horn of Africa in a detention center in the southern port city of Aden, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities have…
Buraika detention facility for migrants in Aden governorate, Yemen. © 2018 VICE News Tonight on HBO
News

Europe Should Help End Cycle of Detention, Violence in Libya

A young Eritrean man died on Tuesday in Sicily of tuberculosis compounded by severe malnutrition. His name was Segen.* He was 22. There is so much about Segen we may never know. Did he prefer to read books or play football?…
Segen, a 22-year-old Eritrean, stares into the camera before disembarking in Pozzallo, Sicily, from the Pro Activa Open Arms rescue ship on March 13, 2018. He died several hours later.
News

The Stories From People With Disabilities Who Have Endured Humanitarian crises

Simplice – Central African Republic The frustration burned in Simplice Lenguy’s eyes as he spoke about the situation faced by people with disabilities since conflict erupted in the Central African Republic. In…
Ali, a 22-year-old Afghan asylum seeker with a disability, living in Moria camp, on the beach in Lesbos, Greece. He told Human Rights Watch he can’t access showers in the camp and sometimes tries to wash himself in the sea.
News

Prosecutions Will be Key Test

(Beirut) – A new law criminalizing torture is a step forward for Lebanon, but falls short of civil society expectations and Lebanon’s obligations under international law, Human Rights Watch said today. Lebanese authorities should…
Lebanese members of parliament attend a parliament discussion in Beirut, Lebanon, October 17, 2017.
News

Lebanon should comply with its obligations under the Convention against Torture

We write in advance of the Committee on Torture’s pre-sessional review of Lebanon to highlight the inadequate definition of torture in Lebanon, the use of torture in Lebanon, including acts of torture and ill-treatment by Lebanese security and military…