In photos: Misery and cheer

Lebanon’s domestic workers demand basic rights

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There are more than a quarter of a million foreign migrant domestic workers (MDW) in Lebanon, according to the International Labor Organization. Yet damning reports from New York-based NGO Human Rights Watch and local women’s rights group KAFA make clear that the majority of these people do not enjoy proper legal protections. Sometimes, this results in tragedy: a worker abused by her employers or another who commits suicide.

To draw attention to the issue, the MDW Coordination Consortium — which includes KAFA and several other NGOs — put together a three-day festival from May 2 to 4, just after Labor Day. There were several events: a book launch, readings, a street festival, a concert and a march.

The march, which was the closing event on Sunday, started in Beirut’s Dora intersection and ended in front of Mar Mikhael’s defunct train station. Hundreds of migrant workers and activists marched to demand more rights for the workers.

The list of demands issued by the MDW Coordination Consortium can be found here.