Spate of suicides by foreign maids in Lebanon sheds light on abuse

Tigrai Online
Dec. 02 2009

Ethiopian domestic workers attend church services in Beirut, Lebanon.

London, England (CNN) -- A recent spate of suicides by foreign maids in Lebanon is prompting outrage among human rights groups, who say the government is doing too little to protect migrant domestic workers from severe abuse.

Over the past seven weeks at least 10 women have died, either by hanging themselves or by falling from tall buildings. Six of these cases have been reported in local media as suicides and four more have been described as possible work accidents.

An Ethiopian woman working as a cleaner in Lebanon told CNN by phone that she was sad about the recent suicides, and that she had a friend who killed herself several years ago, when she too was working as a live-in maid.

"If the Madame maybe she is very bad, they feel there is no way, no solution," said the woman who asked not to be identified, referring to abuse by the female employer. "Everyone has a different case," though she added.

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