Jamila Hadad a member of Arab network of union journalists
On Sunday , Lebanese authorities deported Nepalese human rights defender Ms Sushila Rana known as Sujana Rana who is an active member of the Migrant Domestic Community in Lebanon. On the 30th of last month security forces took her from her employers house and remain detained to this day by the Lebanese General Security. Visitation of the human rights defenders has not been allowed and the reason for detention and deportation was not revealed.
On the other hand the fate of an active member of the Migrant Domestic Community and member of the General Council and the General Assembly Nepalese workers Rose Limbu is unknown, as she was arrested on the 5th of this month. According to the data, there is a serious trend towards deportation as well.
Lebanese General Security has not issued any official statement on the reasons for the detention. They only stated to different Lebanese media organizations that the workers committed an administrative and criminal offense that is why they were arrested. However some human rights activists have different suspicions, saying that the reason has to do with their trade union activities, in order not to devote union work and therefore not to recognized the rights of domestic workers and stop them from demanding their rights according to one of the activist in this case.
Some human rights organizations had signed the Stop the deportation of unionist Sunjana and Rose petition last Friday, to ask the General Directorate of General Security to freeze the deportation of sujana and Rose immediately, and grant them sufficient time to hire lawyers and to exercise their right to a fair trial, and to appeal on the decision of deportation in accordance with article 13 of the international Covenant on civil and political Rights. These organizations also demanded the immediate release of them because they were arrested for trade union activity, and to state clearly the reason behind their arrest and detention . As well as to refrain from any discriminatory action against them especially that they both were defending f human rights and the work of trade union in respect of freedom of association enshrined in the Constitution and international covenants, especially in light of the legal and factual imbalance happening in this respect between employers and domistic workers.
These organizations pointed in the petition, to suspend immediately the kafala system, which constitutes an essential input for human trafficking and a great excuse for violations.
The head of the Public Information Office at the Public Security dean General Nabil Hanoun explained through a statement to a media outlet that the detention is not related to the work of trade union, pointing out that public security is not obliged to announce the reasons, he decided to announce the reasons whenever he wants.
some lawyers (who refused to be quoted by name) replied on this statement by saying that public security will not explicitly declare that the trade union action is the reason for the detention of both workers, pointing out that public security will refer to the judgment of other reasons. It is worth mentioning that both workers, have enjoyed legal residency. This prompted some activists to ask about the validity of the public security in a matter of dropping the legitimate residences without trial and without giving them the right to defend themselves.
According to the National Federation of Trade Unions and domestic workers in Lebanon and the General Assembly of the domestic workers Union, issued a statement yesterday, both workers were denied their right to appoint a lawyer!
Both the National Union and the General Assembly denounced the decision to deport sujana Rana, and the unjustified arrest of Ms. rose Limbu. The statement noted, Until now the reason for her arrest is still ambiguous. The statement added: we even were not allowed to communicate with them so we can hire a lawyer or a minimum let us and the public know the charges against them.
The statement called on the Director of Public Security, to take appropriate action and to allow volunteer lawyers to communicate with Rose and even enjoy her legal rights to a lawyer to resort to the competent court if there is no reason for her arrest. So we don’t want this arrest to be arbitrary and infringement of the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution and the Human Rights law, specially that rose has all the official documents of legal residence and work permit and is committed to the laws in force.
Union and Assembly demanded from the General Directorate of General Security to freeze any decision to deport Rosa in and to have sufficient time to appoint a lawyer and to exercise her immediate release .
it is possible that this arrest is an infringement of trade union freedoms as we have this suspicion and the fact that the public Security did not disclose the reason for the arrest, and this is contrary to the norms of international conventions and the Universal Declaration of human rights.
It is worth mentioning the the founding conference for the establishment of domestic workers trade union was held in January last year. Then, the founders were threatened by the Lebanese minister of labour, who waved using the security forces to break up the conference. Even today, the Lebanese authorities have not given the license to the union. According to the National Union, the union has been and remains under considerable pressure to reduce its work in Lebanon.