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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.
News
Shortly after Denmark began telling Syrian refugees that parts of Syria are "safe" and stripped them of their temporary protected status, I talked to a 31-year-old refugee who voluntarily returned to Syria from Jordan in December 2020. He told me…
A streetview of destroyed buildings in a city
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

Struggle to Survive Amid Devastation, Property Destruction

(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 said in a report released…
A streetview of destroyed buildings in a city
News

At Least 1,170 North Koreans Face Torture, Sexual Abuse if Sent Back

For months, North Koreans living in South Korea who have relatives detained in China have been imploring government officials, foreign diplomats, United Nations agencies, and others for help. They hope international pressure can dissuade Chinese…
Photos of the North Korean refugees helped by the North Korea Refugees Human Rights Association of Korea are displayed in Seoul, South Korea on June 11, 2019.
News

Submission to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Human Rights Watch welcomes the opportunity to provide input to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities for his thematic report to the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly regarding the rights of persons with…
News

Donors Should Urge Government to Respect Right to Education

Update: On May 6, 2021, the education minister announced he had requested the government to allow refugee children without residency documents to take their school examinations this year. (Beirut) – Lebanon’s Education Ministry is blocking Syrian…
Jordan Kid
News

Ensure Greater Information Access

(Beirut) – The Lebanese government’s Covid-19 vaccination program risks leaving behind marginalized communities, including refugees and migrant workers, Human Rights Watch said today. Despite the government’s promises of an equitable program, the…
A nurse prepares a Covid-19 vaccine syringe at the Saint George Hospital in Beirut, Lebanon on February 16, 2021. © 2021 AP Photo/Hussein Malla
News

Others Face Deportation Decisions

(Amman) – Jordanian authorities have deported at least four Yemeni asylum seekers registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and have issued deportation orders against others who made asylum claims, Human Rights Watch…
A Yemeni asylum seeker who arrived in Jordan in 2014, overlooks the city in the neighborhood of Abu Nseir, North of Amman, Jordan on March 25, 2021.
News

Two Winters Since Homes Dismantled, Many Refugees in Arsal Unprotected

(Beirut) – Syrian refugees in Arsal, a Lebanese town on the border with Syria, do not have adequate shelters to withstand the harsh winter months, Human Rights Watch said today, releasing a video showing their dire living conditions. More than 15,…
Children play next to shelters in a Syrian refugee camp in Arsal, Lebanon. Around 15,000 Syrian refugees in Arsal are entering their second winter without adequate roofs and insulation since the 2019 directive ordered them to dismantle concrete shelters and rebuild the top portion with tarp and wood. November 2020.
Video
Syrian refugees in Arsal, a Lebanese town on the border with Syria, do not have adequate shelters to withstand the harsh winter months. More than 15,000 Syrian refugees in Arsal are experiencing their second winter since a 2019 order from the Higher…
News

Urgently Address Economic, Political Crises

(Beirut) – The Lebanese authorities’ corruption and failure to address the massive political and economic crises the country is facing have resulted in the country’s most drastic deterioration of rights in decades, Human Rights Watch said today in its…
Lebanese people release balloons bearing the names of the victims of the 4 August Beirut seaport blast to mark the two-month anniversary of the explosion that killed 200 people and injured more than 6,500 others.
News

UN Review Should Focus on Increased Protection Against Violence, Bias

(Beirut) – Lebanese authorities are falling short of their international legal obligations to protect women and girls from violence and end discrimination against them, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch has submitted a report to the…
Women shout slogans and wave the Lebanese flag during a demonstration in down town Beirut.
News

Reinstate Contract; Amend Labor Law

(Beirut) – Lebanon’s State Shura Council, the country’s top administrative court, delivered a sharp blow to migrant domestic worker rights by suspending the implementation of a new standard unified contract, Amnesty International and Human Rights…
Protestors holding banners calling for the abolishment of Lebanon's controversial kafala sponsorship system.
News

Pushbacks Against Surge of Arrivals by Boat From Lebanon

(Athens) – Cypriot coast guard forces summarily pushed back, abandoned, expelled, or returned more than 200 migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers coming from Lebanon during the first week of September 2020 without giving them the opportunity to lodge…
Cyprus coast guard carrying migrants from a boat from Lebanon interdicted on January 14, 2020. © 2020 Reuters/Yiannis Kourtoglou
News

A Positive Step, But Ensure Enforcement; Amend Labor Law

(Beirut) – The new standard unified contract for migrant domestic workers that Lebanon’s Labor Ministry adopted on September 4, 2020 is a step in the right direction toward protecting domestic workers’ rights and abolishing the abusive kafala (…
Protestors holding banners calling for the abolishment of Lebanon's controversial kafala sponsorship system.
News

Port Explosion Led to Increased Homelessness of Workers Abandoned by Employers

More than a month since the devastating port explosion in Beirut, the situation for many of the estimated 250,000 migrant domestic workers in Lebanon has gone from dire to catastrophic. The explosion happened amidst an economic crisis that worsened…
An Ethiopian domestic worker waits in front of the Ethiopian consulate after she and others were abandoned by their Lebanese employers, in Hazmieh, east of Beirut, Lebanon, June 4, 2020.
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.