Human Rights & Health in Lebanon: A Migrant Worker’s Perspective

MWTF is proud to present a video about a migrant worker’s experience of human rights and health in Lebanon. The video stars Rahel Zageye and was a collaborative production between her and Ibrahim Diab, the video’s director. Both are active in the MWTF, and Rahel has directed a full-length film called “Beirut” following a group of young Ethiopian women in Lebanon that will be released soon. The video itself is in both Arabic and English with English subtitles.

The video was made as an answer to the call by SCORP (Standing Committee on Human Rights and Peace), which is a part of the Lebanese Medical Students International Committee.

In the video, Rahel discusses the condition of Azzouniyeh Hospital, and of the health care provided to Migrant Workers in general. In that free-of-charge hospital, it is very difficult to find basic needs like tissue papers, pads, or oxygen bottles. Also, Rahel explains that the breakfast offered consists mainly of cheese, even though the majority of Ethiopians are in fact lactose intolerant, a fact the hospital does not take into account. As a result, they must skip breakfast and their health suffers further.

Embassies, meanwhile, offer no helping hand. The Ethiopian embassy, as Rahel explains in the video, does not have an ambulance in case of emergency and thus migrant workers must find ways on their small incomes to find transport to this hospital.

In the competition, the movie won and will go on to represent Lebanon in the International Human Rights and Health video competition. Health care is just one of the many issues facing migrant workers in Lebanon, and as Diab mentioned when asked about the video’s message and the future, “this is indeed a long fight for equality. Although we will try our hardest to publicize the video and its message, we can only hope to get some governmental support on the issue of health care for migrant workers, such as providing actual financial help to the hospital!”

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