In solidarity with the people of Lebanon
06 August 2020
Elmer “Ka Bong” Labog
Kilusang Mayo Uno
International League of Peoples’ Struggle – Philippines
Deadly explosions rocked Beirut on August 5 that left at least a hundred dead and thousands injured, while many are still missing and another 300,000 Lebanese displaced. We send our heartfelt solidarity to the people of Lebanon, who are facing a tragedy that has worsened the already grave conditions of the people amid Lebanon’s economic crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic.
As the Lebanese government holds an investigation to deliver justice and accountability, they must also give utmost priority to the people deeply affected by these extraordinary times. Immediate relief and response must be given, such as proper evacuation facilities, food security, social amelioration and medical services. Rebuilding hospitals, medical facilities, procurement of medical equipment, and establishment of additional isolation and quarantine facilities must also be accomplished at the earliest possible time.
We must also remember the plight of domestic workers made further vulnerable to poverty and inequality. Thousands have been fired by their employers and stranded on the streets. Women workers remain victims to the slave-like ‘Kafala’ (sponsorship) system; denied food and healthcare, salaries withheld and passports confiscated, forced to work without rest and suffered physical and sexual abuse. We echo their call to end all repatriation requirements to make it possible for domestic workers to be evacuated by their countries of origin immediately.
We also send our deepest condolences to the family of the Filipinos killed in the incident. The Department of Foreign Affairs must take immediate steps for the repatriation of their bodies, as well as the Filipino domestic workers in Lebanon who wish to go home. Search and rescue operations must be done to find the missing workers and seafarers. Necessary assistance must be given to the workers’ families.
We call on all humanitarian organizations, governments, institutions, and concerned people of the world to give moral and economic support to the people of Lebanon. ###