Translated and edited by: Committee for Justice
Geneva, September 2, 2021
The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) released its findings on Lebanon, which it examined during its last session.
The findings also highlighted the positive aspects of Lebanon’s implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination in addition to the Committee’s main concerns and recommendations.
The Kafala (sponsorship) system and the need to replace it:
The Committee reiterated its concern about the sponsorship system, which requires that migrant workers, particularly domestic workers, have a sponsor, usually the employer, who is responsible for their visas and their legal status in Lebanon.
The committee explained that this system results in exploitation, especially non-payment of wages, long working hours, and passport confiscation, as well as psychological and physical abuse.
The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination urged Lebanon to abolish the sponsorship system and replace it with new labor regulations, based on standards set by the International Labor Organization.
Racist speech against refugees:
The committee also urged Lebanon to amend its legislation to ban racist hate speech against migrants and refugees, and to intensify its efforts to cooperate with Internet service providers and social media platforms to curb the spread of racism and offensive messages online.
Expressing its concern about refugees, in particular Syrians, who have been victims of arbitrary detention, torture and ill-treatment in detention centers or refugee camps, the Committee also urged Lebanon to ensure that asylum seekers and refugees are not arbitrarily detained, investigate all cases of alleged torture or ill-treatment and prosecute all perpetrators accordingly.