Experts of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination Ask Lebanon about the Kafala System for Migrant Domestic Workers, the Absence of a Definition of Racial Discrimination, and the Treatment of Refugees

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination today concluded its consideration of the combined twenty-third to twenty-fourth periodic report of Lebanon after its Experts raised questions about the kafala system for migrant domestic workers, the absence of a definition of racial discrimination, and the treatment of refugees, among others.

Lebanon did not yet have a law that defined racial discrimination.  Committee Experts asked about measures taken to adopt a specific law regarding discrimination, in line with the provisions of article 1 of the Convention.  The Lebanese Criminal Code criminalized any act of racial discrimination in general terms.  From that standpoint, the Committee was concerned regarding a lack of clarity in the legislation prohibiting racist speech, stereotyping, and stigmatization, particularly against refugees.

Salim Baddoura, Permanent Representative of Lebanon to the United Nations Office at Geneva and head of the delegation, stated that Lebanon was facing exceptionally difficult circumstances as a result of various severe crises that were affecting the country, especially the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Lebanon was also still facing a stifling refugee crisis as it was hosting more than one million displaced Syrians, hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees, as well as refugees from other countries, and this was causing a deterioration of the living conditions and put a great weight on the host community, in addition to the hostile intentions of Israel towards Lebanon and the transgressions against the Lebanese people in south Lebanon. 

Despite these circumstances, Mr. Badourra said Lebanon remained committed to shoulder all its international responsibilities, especially in the field of human rights, and adhered to the international human rights mechanisms, which made up one of the most important pillars to strengthen and promote human rights.  Lebanon sought not to distinguish between citizens and refugees in providing basic services. 

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English | August 11, 2021



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