Lebanon Blocks Website that Documents Stories of Migrant Workers Abuse

Published April 23rd, 2019 - 12:51 GMT
Demonstrators call for an end to Lebanon's sponsorship system for migrant domestic workers, Beirut. (OHCHR)
Demonstrators call for an end to Lebanon's sponsorship system for migrant domestic workers, Beirut. (OHCHR)

Among the Lebanese government’s latest efforts to suppress freedoms and censor media, a website called “This is Lebanon” has been reportedly blocked by local internet providers.

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The website belongs to a non-profit organization called “This is Lebanon” found in 2017 to document and report stories of abuse against migrant workers in Lebanon. It is being run by a former worker in Lebanon who currently resides in Canada.

On their official Facebook page, “This is Lebanon” announced they were informed about the Lebanese authorities decision to force local internet providers in the country into blocking the website.

Later, they updated their FB post to say they got back to a software developer who helped them get back to service in Lebanon.

A photo was shared by Lebanese social media users showed the website after being blocked and has a banner that says: “This website was blocked according to a Lebanese judicial order.”

The ban made waves and sparked anger among Lebanese and other followers as well who have been following the organization to support its work.

The website that has tens if not hundreds of stories about migrant workers in Lebanon who faced abuse by being beaten, raped, threatened to death, forced to work for long hours or not receiving their salaries.

It also stands to put more pressure on authorities to get rid of the 'Kafalah' system that means sponsorship, through which workers are not allowed to resign, travel, chance employers or return home without their “Kafeel” or legal sponsor approval.

The system is being applied across several countries in the Middle East; mainly in the Levant and Gulf countries.

This comes a few days after Lebanese authorities have denied a Brazilian metal band, Sepultura, from visas to Lebanon where they were scheduled to have a concert. The band was accused of “insulting Christianity” and being “devil worshippers”.

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