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Cabinet demands probe into videotaped abuse of domestic worker
Ministers attend a Cabinet meeting headed by President Michel Sleiman at Baabda Palace on Friday, March 9, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
Ministers attend a Cabinet meeting headed by President Michel Sleiman at Baabda Palace on Friday, March 9, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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BEIRUT: The government has asked for an investigation into a video showing what appears to be an Ethiopian domestic worker being beaten by a Lebanese man and forced into his car.

“The Cabinet condemned the violence against the Ethiopian domestic worker in public and asked for an investigation into the matter,” Information Minister Walid Daouk told reporters after the Cabinet session was adjourned Friday.

“And for those who did this to be turned over to the concerned judicial authority, which should take legal measures against them,” he added.

A video released by LBCI on March 8 shows what it says is an incident in which an Ethiopian domestic worker is beaten by her Lebanese employer while people stand outside the Ethiopian Embassy in Badaro.

The video shows the woman moaning in pain and refusing to leave with the man who eventually with the help of another man forces her into a car. The video blurs the faces but keeps the license plate of the car visible.

Many activists have raised concerns over the mistreatment of migrant domestic workers in Lebanon. Rights organization KAFA (Enough) Violence & Exploitation has proposed a draft law to replace the sponsorship system for migrant domestic workers.

In the past two months, four cases have been reported of domestic workers committing suicide; three of them were Nepalese.

Thousands of women from Ethiopia, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Nepal and other countries travel to Lebanon every year for employment as housemaids but many are faced with verbal and physical abuse, unregulated working conditions and low wages.

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