On June 16, 2011, the International Labour Conference of the International Labour Organization adopted Convention 189 Decent Work for Domestic Workers and its 201st supplementing recommendation.
While Convention 189 promotes decent hiring, working, and living conditions for all domestic workers, it speaks specifically to the rights of migrant domestic workers. For instance, Convention 189 advocates the establishment of contracts that have implementation force in the host country, the development of clear conditions to guide the repatriation of migrant domestic workers, and the institution of safeguards against the abusive practices of private employment agencies. Moreover, C. 189 urges sending and receiving countries to cooperate for the effective implementation of the Convention.
Lebanon hosts a large, but poorly protected, community of women migrant domestic workers (WMDWs). Various institutional sources estimate the number of WMDWs in Lebanon between 150,000 and 220,000 in an overall workforce of 1.4 million. In the absence of national and international legal protections, WMDWs accept lower wages than Lebanese workers, do not require social security coverage, and work longer hours. They are often subject to psychological, physical, and sexual abuse.
Lebanon’s adoption of C. 189 recognizes domestic workers as workers who are worthy of the legal and social protections granted to other categories of workers.
To read the text of the Convention, please visit: http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_norm/---relconf/documents/meetingdocument/wcms_157836.pdf