The government condemned on Friday the abuse of an Ethiopian domestic worker and called for an investigation to refer the culprits to justice, Information Minister Walid al-Daouq announced.
“The cabinet denounced the violence against the Ethiopian maid in public and called for a probe to refer the suspects to the competent judiciary to take the necessary legal measures against them,” al-Daouq said following a session held at Baabda Palace.
The condemnation came after LBC TV obtained mobile phone footage of a man hitting the woman and pulling her hair under the gaze of bystanders outside the Ethiopian consulate in Beirut.
While the reasons of the incident were not clear, it brought back to the forefront of discussions the widespread abuse and sometimes the rape of domestic workers.
The labor ministry also condemned the attack, saying it launched an investigation as soon as it received a copy of the video from LBC.
The ministry’s statement said it also contacted the justice ministry to take the necessary legal measures against the culprits.
Many of the estimated 200,000 foreign domestic workers in Lebanon hail from the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Ethiopia.
Although the Lebanese government issued a decree in 2009 that requires employers to abide by a set of rules including paying workers their salary in full at the end of each month and giving them one day off a week, advocacy groups say few employers respect these conditions.
In rare cases in the past few years, an employer was sentenced to 15 days in jail for repeatedly beating a Filipina worker and another sentenced to one month for abusing a Sri Lankan maid and confining her to the house.