Sierra Leone’s Deputy Ambassador To Switzerland Calls On Lebanon Government To Abolish Kafala System & Amend The Nationality Law
Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday 19 January 2021- At the ongoing 37th Session of the Universal Periodic Review, the Deputy Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone to the United Nations Office and other International Organizations in Geneva, Switzerland, His Excellency, Samuel U.B. Saffa Esq, has called on the Lebanon Government to tackle the menace of children in armed violence, women’s rights, among other things.
The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a state driven process which involves a review of the human rights of all UN Member States- The aim of this mechanism is to improve the human rights situation in all countries and address human right violations wherever they occur.
President Julius Maada Bio believes that the protection of human rights is an antidote to injustice. Therefore, the “New Direction Government as a matter of expediency undertook an overhaul of the Human Rights Commission and restore sanity in the judiciary by scaling up the justice delivery in the country with a view to restoring public confidence in its independence and impartiality and ensure that justice is accessible and affordable for all.
His Excellency, Samuel Saffa delivery Sierra Leone's statement in the review of Lebanon, commended the country for establishing a National Human Rights Commission including the committee for the prevention of Torture.
Ambassador Saffa recalled and shared the Government of Sierra Leone`s grief following the devastation of the Beirut port explosion in August 2020, that took the lives of over 200 people with thousands injured and an estimated 300,000 people homeless.
“Sierra Leone notes with appreciation Lebanon`s cooperation with the human rights mechanisms with specific reference to the submission of its periodic reports to treaty bodies and special procedure mandate holders”, he noted.
Sierra Leone recommended to the Government of Lebanon to strengthen the implementation of the national plan of action to prevent and address the involvement of children in armed violence, amend the nationality law to allow women to transfer their nationality to their children and abolish the kafala system and include domestic workers in their labour laws among other things.
It should be noted that "the kafala” is monitoring or sponsorship mechanism established between migrant workers and their sponsors, or kafeel. It is a system common in most Gulf states. By this system, the state grants permit to its citizens and companies to recruit or employ foreign labourers or migrant workers. One of the disadvantages of the system is that its policy is administered by the Interior Ministry as opposed to the Labour Ministry, as such as migrants’ workers are unprotected and vulnerable to exploitation.
“Sierra Leone wishes Lebanon success with the implementation of the recommendations it receives during its third UPR cycle”, Deputy Permanent Representative Saffa concluded.
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