Geneva – Discrimination and racism against different groups in Lebanon have been growing, resulting in dire effects on the lives of hundreds of thousands in the country, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor and Geo Expertise said during the 46th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council today.
Delivered by Euro-Med Monitor’s advocacy officer, Ahmed Alnaouq, the speech said that the Coronavirus pandemic and the economic crisis have revealed the enormity of racist laws and measures taken against foreign workers in the country, which allowed employers to lay workers off in a humiliating way without accountability.
Over 250,000 foreign women work under the exploitative sponsorship system, which puts their status at the hands of their employers, making them easy prey to various types of violations that may reach the level of contemporary slavery, the speech said.
In the speech, Alnaouq said that Lebanon hosts about 1.5 million Syrian refugees and 175 thousand Palestinian refugees, who are suffocated with racist laws that restrict their guaranteed rights to work, health care and movement, while subjected to security harassments under various pretexts.
The speech said that as a result of hate speech against foreigners and refugees, racist practices are not limited to the official level but are widely practiced popularly, adding that there has been a noticeable increase in racist attacks against Syrian refugees in the country recently.
Alnaouq added, last December, a camp housing about 100 Syrian families was set on fire.
The two organizations called on the Lebanese authorities to show real intentions to combat the growing racism in the country, curb hate speech and incitement against foreigners, and abolish all racist laws in compliance with the international agreements the country ratified in this context, most notably the International Labor Organization (ILO) conventions related to the protection of domestic workers and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.