November 28, 2012
Read in French “Everything is enveloped by a sense of ruin and decay,” says Bishop Antoine Audo, Chaldean bishop of Aleppo and president of Caritas Syria. “In Aleppo, there are hundreds of thousands of displaced people crammed into schools and makeshift camps. There are 5,000 people who sleep outside in the gardens of the university campus. “Conditions are getting worse. We have no hospital, no schools, no university. Even for those who still live in their homes, the situation is difficult. “Industrial areas on the outskirts of the city have been bombed and looted. For weeks, rubbish has not been collected. The stench has become unbearable.”
Across the world, vulnerable people—particularly women—are exploited when they go abroad as domestic workers. With no laws to protect them, housemaids suffer abuse, withheld wages and more. Caritas Internationalis has participated in an international advocacy campaign for the adoption of an ILO Convention regulating domestic work. The Convention (No. 189) with an attached recommendation (No. 201) was adopted on 16 June 2011 during the International Labour Conference in Geneva. It was a major breakthrough and the recognition of domestic work as real work. Caritas has joined with the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) to promote the ratification and implementation of Convention No. 189. The ITUC has launched the “12 by 12” worldwide campaign to have 12 countries, as a start, ratify Convention No. 189 by the end of 2012.
The 12 December 2012 is a worldwide day of action in support of decent working conditions for domestic workers, both adults and minors. Caritas has joined up with the International Trade Union Federation in asking 12 governments to ratify International Labour Organisation (ILO) ‘Convention 189’ by this date. Five countries, Uruguay, Philippines, Mauritius, Nicaragua, Paraguay and Bolivia, have so far ratified the convention. Ratification means that domestic workers have real access to redress mechanisms, when their contracts or their rights in general are not respected. It’s also a deterrent for employment agencies and employers who do not play by the rules. On 12.12.2012 we want added pressure on those government who have not ratified to do so and ensure millions domestic workers worldwide can now look forward to being treated with the respect they deserve. Caritas members in Latin America for example are urging all people who employ a domestic worker or who [...]
Civil society leaders at global meeting point to co-responsibility with governments for solutions in labour migration, rights and development PORT LOUIS, Mauritius 22 November 2012- More than 800 representatives from civil society and governments from some 160 countries gathered in Mauritius this week to discuss changes needed in labour migration, protection of migrants, promotion of their rights and development.
By Dana Shahin, Caritas Jordan Fatima is a widow who recently fled the conflict in Syria to seek refuge in Jordan. She came to the Caritas Jordan centre in Mafraq where she would be able to receive essential help. Once she’d registered with a Caritas staff member, she headed over to the volunteer’s desk to receive her aid items such as blankets, quilts and personal hygiene products. There were large boxes consisting of different coloured quilts. The volunteers usually picks one or two, depending on the family size, and hand them over to the refugees. Fatima, after taking her package, approached one of the volunteers. With a shy quiet voice, she asked, “Is it ok if I choose another quilt? I don’t like this colour.” The Caritas team told her to pick another one. With a thrilled expression on her face , she ran happily to the box and took few minutes to pick [...]
October 25, 2012
“I thank Caritas every day for the assistance we received” Three months ago, Sanaa gave birth alone in her house, just a few days after arriving in Lebanon from Syria. She, her husband and their two young children ran away from heavy shelling .They are from Hama and did not know anyone in Lebanon. “We had no money to eat and we got scared for the children,” she said. “We know the situation will not get better soon in Syria”. A few years ago, her husband had an accident. Since then, he cannot move his right hand and has severe memory loss. Sometimes, he does not recognise his own wife. Despite this disability, he found a job as a gardener. But the salary is low and they cannot even afford nappies for their new born. The family was referred to Caritas Lebanon by a former municipality member in the Bekaa. They had never [...]
Caritas urges governments to fight the exploitation of migrants by offering decent work, social protection and greater opportunities for human development. In a statement for the Global Forum on Migration and Development, Caritas warns that the economic crisis which has led to cuts in public spending, unemployment and the tightening of borders to restrict migrant entry have had a major impact on migrants and their ability to contribute to local development. “Migrants the world over, but most of all women, are vulnerable to abuse,” says Martina Liebsch director of policy at Caritas Internationalis. “Migrants have the same rights as everyone to life, liberty, security, education, medical care and decent work. We urge governments to make protecting migrants a priority.” More specifically, Caritas asks the Global Forum to consider the following issues: Protection and promotion of the contribution of migrant women to human development. Women are often the primary breadwinner in their families and increasingly [...]
September 26, 2012
Children migrating alone to other countries are vulnerable to abuse. Caritas calls for better protection for them and a stronger focus on their needs. Children migrate alone because their families want to protect them against violence or hunger, or want them to send money back to help the family. According to a 2010 study by Catholic Relief Services (Caritas member in the USA), abuses facing unaccompanied Central American children in Mexico ranged from robbery, extortion, intimidation, verbal abuse, and physical abuse, the last two being the most frequent. The CRS study says children suffered abuse while in transit, when apprehended, while in detention or during the deportation or repatriation process. Caritas members and church bodies in other parts of the world have reported similar situations of abuse. The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child will discuss the contents and implications of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in the context [...]
Pope Benedict XVI said he had gone to Lebanon and to the Middle East as a “pilgrim of peace”. Over the next three days, he would return to the same theme of peace in the troubled region in every speech he delivered. President of Caritas Lebanon Father Simon Faddoul, reflecting on the visit, said, “The Pope was a messenger of peace to an area that is in a state of continuous war. His presence in Lebanon could bring conflicting parties closer.” The Pope came to deliver the Apostolic Exhortation - the fruit of the Synod for the Middle East. “In this Exhortation, the Pope invites the Christians to act as citizens of the land by living out their citizenship fully,” said Fr Faddoul. “And invites the Muslims to accept differences in multi-religious societies.” The pope's visit served as a showcase for Lebanon, which for years was a model of peaceful coexistence and religious [...]
The UN International Labour Organization (ILO) has announced that a second country, the Philippines, has just ratified Convention 189/2011 for Decent Work for Domestic Workers. Uruguay was the first country to ratify this Convention last June. This is the second breakthrough after adoption by ILO members in June 2010. Caritas says it is now very important to keep international attention up on these set of rules, so that more countries who are ILO member States also ratify it. Ratification means also that domestic workers have real access to redress mechanisms, when their contracts or their rights in general are not respected. It’s also a deterrent for employment agencies and employers who do not play by the rules. In 2009, Caritas Internationalis started a campaign for migrant domestic workers’ rights. Many Caritas members provide services to domestic workers and had expressed their concern about the abuses such workers had to suffer. The campaign contributed [...]
By Shahera Khader Maria Abou Diman, a 28-year-old social worker in charge of Caritas Lebanon’s center in Taalabaya (Bekaa Valley), sits outside her office on a plastic white chair. Around her are faces filled with anxiety, hunger and exhaustion. An 80-year-old woman stands directly beside her. She hands Abou Diman her I.D. Her hands, filled with rivers of deep wrinkles, are shaking uncontrollably. She pierces Abou Diman with her mournful eyes. “How can I help you?” Abou Diman asks the woman. “I need more blankets, please, my daughter is cold and hungry,” the woman said. Others crowd around Aboud Diman, telling her their own names and what they need. Abou Diman pulls a chair up for the old woman and motions for her to take a seat. The Caritas Lebanon migrant center’s social worker stands and wipes the drops of sweat off her forehead; she has been receiving Syrian refugees […]
August 31, 2012
Nepal’s August 2012 ban preventing women under 30 from working in Gulf countries is well-meaning but misguided, according to Caritas migration experts. The ban is intended to protect young women from suffering abuse while they work as maids in private homes. For years, Caritas has worked with survivors of such abuse. “We appreciate the government of Nepal’s concern for migrant domestic workers,” says Rupa Rai of Caritas Nepal. “But the problems women face in Gulf countries will not decrease because of this age bar.” Each year, hundreds of thousands of women leave Asian countries like Nepal, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the Philippines to work in Gulf countries such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Some are treated well, but others work long hours without being paid, often suffering beatings and sexual abuse. Instead of banning migration outright, countries should develop “better strategies to provide both safety and decent work for women,” says Rai. [...]