Lebanon is deporting locally born children of migrant workers from Bangladesh and five other countries and, in some cases, their mothers, according to nine NGOs operating in the country.
The other countries are: Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Ghana, South Sudan, and Madagascar, New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report published on September 2.
A recent decision by General Security, Lebanon’s security agency in charge of foreigners’ entry and residency, to deny residency permit renewals for a number of low-wage migrants who have had children in Lebanon and for their children disproportionately interferes with the right to family life.
Since May 2014, nearly a dozen female migrant workers, many of them longstanding residents of Lebanon, reported to human rights groups that when they went to General Security to renew residency papers for themselves and their children, they were turned down.
Some were told they were not allowed to have children in Lebanon and given a short period of time to leave the country. In some cases, they said, they were given as little as 48 hours, the report said.
“Under General Security’s new directive some families are being torn apart while others are apparently being denied their livelihoods simply because they’ve had children in Lebanon,” said Nadim Houry, Middle East and North Africa deputy director at Human Rights Watch.
“The Lebanese authorities have not given any justification for this new policy and should immediately revoke this directive as it interferes with the right to family life.”
Under Lebanese residency regulations, certain categories of low-wage migrants, particularly domestic workers, are not allowed to sponsor residency for their spouses or children.
However, in the past, Lebanon-born children of the migrants could apply for year-long residency up until age four and then could apply for residency if they enrolled in school.
Sources within General Security have confirmed to nongovernmental groups that the agency has a new directive regarding the renewal of residency permits for Lebanon-born children of low-wage migrants and their migrant parents.
Despite written requests from the nongovernmental groups to receive a copy of the directive the agency has yet to respond. Activists say the directive was apparently adopted in January 2014, but has been applied more stringently since May and has resulted in the expulsion of some family members of migrant workers.