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Video Celebrates the 10-Year Anniversary of a Landmark Treaty

June 16 marks 10 years since the International Labour Organization (ILO) adopted a groundbreaking treaty establishing global labor standards to protect domestic workers’ rights. In that time, 32 countries have joined and dozens have improved labor…
Domestic worker and human rights organizations join forces in Geneva, to demonstrate alongside the opening policy negotiations. June 2010.
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How an Undervalued Workforce and Allies Secured Sweeping Labor Protections

Ten years ago, on June 16, 2011, a landmark international treaty was adopted to help protect domestic workers around the world. The International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 189, Concerning Decent Work for Domestic Workers radically changed how…
Domestic worker leaders chant “Up up domestic workers, down down with slavery” after the ILO vote to adopt the Domestic Workers Convention, June 16, 2011
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It was clear immediately that the Covid-19 pandemic would hit women hardest. First came the school closures. One point four billion children were sent home from school, and many more from childcare facilities. Who was going to look after them? Who…
Women domestic workers, many of whom lost their jobs after the coronavirus outbreak, shout slogans at a protest demanding social security from the government in Bengaluru, India, June 15, 2020.
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Significant Discrimination Against Women, Girls in Law and Practice

(Beirut) – The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has made important women’s rights reforms in recent years, such as passing new domestic violence protections, but significant discrimination against women and girls remains, Human Rights Watch said today. Laws…
A foreign domestic worker with a child under a billboard in the United Arab Emirates.
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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.
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Migrant Workers Face Abuse and Exploitation

There are reports this week that Saudi authorities are seeking to abolish the notorious kafala (sponsorship) system in 2021. Under that system, some 10 million migrant workers’ legal status are tied to their employer—facilitating abuse and…
Trapped in Employer's home
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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.
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Pandemic Response to Protect and Increase Resilience in the Food and Farm System

The Honorable Mitch McConnell  U.S. Senate Speaker Washington, D.C. 20510 The Honorable Nancy Pelosi Majority Leader  U.S. House of Representatives Washington, D.C. 20515 The Honorable Charles Schumer  U.S. Senate Minority…
Workers line up to enter the Tyson Foods port processing plant in Logansport, Indiana, May 7, 2020.
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As World Cup Draws Closer, Government Yet to Meet Key Reform Promises

(Beirut) – Qatari authorities’ efforts to protect migrant workers’ right to accurate and timely wages have largely proven unsuccessful, Human Rights Watch said in a report and an accompanying video released today. Despite a handful of reforms in…
Migrant workers in Qatar represent about 95 per cent of the country’s labor force. These workers are building the country’s infrastructure, hotels, and stadiums, and powering its service sector. 
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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

July 2020

  Freedom of Expression Oman’s Basic Law guarantees freedom of expression, but restricts this right based on “the conditions and circumstances defined by the Law,” and prohibits any publication that “leads to public discord, violates the…
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Leave No Woman Behind in Governments’ Response

(New York) – Governments need to do more to monitor and intervene to prevent violence against women during Covid-19 lockdowns, Human Rights Watch said today in a report to the United Nations special rapporteur on violence against women. The problem…
Gender based violence illustration
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For households around the world, soon it will be the time of the month to start thinking about next month’s rent, mortgage or housing loan payments. Billions of people have been directly or indirectly affected by Covid-19. This unprecedented public…
Homeless women sleep outside on a mattress in the "Villa 31" neighborhood during a government-ordered lockdown to curb the spread of the new coronavirus in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Wednesday, May 6, 2020.
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The ongoing coronavirus pandemic underlines the urgent need for safety nets for domestic workers.

Few workers have cause to celebrate May 1, International Workers' Day, this year. COVID-19 has been accompanied by another pandemic - of job loss and economic insecurity. Domestic workers, primarily women, have particularly precarious jobs and often do…
201711wrd_tanzania_domesticworkers
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Increasing Concern Under Covid-19 Measures

(Beirut) –The death on April 18 of a 20-year-old woman in Najaf, possibly at the hands of her husband, should act as a wake-up call for Iraqi legislators to pass a law against domestic violence, Human Rights Watch said today. Iraqi…
Demonstrators in Baghdad call International Women's Day a "day of mourning" in protest of Iraq's new draft Jaafari Personal Status Law.