RECLAIM OUR RIGHTS


INTRODUCTION

The establishment of the Reclaim Our Rights (ROR) Collective in October 2023 marked the beginning of our union as migrant women activists representing diverse communities, coming from Kenya, Sierra Leone, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Ghana, and Cameroon to the Philippines. As a collective we are dedicated to championing our rights and dignity as migrant women in Lebanon. Our Manifesto, published on International Women's Day, is our powerful message to the world about our values and aspirations as a collective.

Ongoing endeavours are centred on amplifying our voices as migrant women, nurturing partnerships, and advocating for systemic change.

We are committed to collective action and have actively reached out to Lebanese organisations working on human rights and justice, inviting them to join us on our table to ensure the inclusion of migrant workers' concerns in any discussion about the Kafala system. We pursue collaborative work with Lebanese organisations to influence policy development and integrate migrant worker issues into the agenda of their advocacy and service provision frameworks. We, as ROR, extend this open invitation to local and international organisations, allies and groups interested in emphasising the significance of incorporating migrant perspectives into the broader advocacy efforts of feminist and workers' movements worldwide.

By prioritising rights, cultural sensitivity, and understanding, we aim to cultivate an inclusive and impactful advocacy landscape where our voices and needs as migrant women with lived experiences are acknowledged and addressed.

Migrant Workers' Action actively supports and equips the Reclaim Our Rights Collective through community organising support. MWA collaborates closely with the collective, providing essential tools and resources to facilitate the collective's growth and effectiveness in advocating for migrant women's rights.

MWA's commitment lies in fostering a safe space where ROR members can voice their concerns without fear of repercussion and actively advocate for the advancement of migrant women's rights in Lebanon. MWA's partnership with ROR aims to cultivate and strengthen relationships within the collective, recognising that collective action is more impactful than individual efforts. Together, we want to build power within and beyond migrant communities. Without power, meaningful change in our communities is unattainable. It's about shifting power dynamics from being concentrated in the hands of a few to being distributed among many.

Empowerment must translate into tangible power held by communities actively organising around the issues they face. Ultimately, our work is about building bridges and forging alliances among individuals who may perceive themselves as having little in common beyond their shared struggles within the Kafala system. The collective strength of migrant women to make real change exists and we will continue to pursue in unity to achieve our common goal of freedom and justice.

RECLAIM OUR RIGHTS

MANIFESTO

Introduction

We, the Reclaim Our Rights (ROR) collective, a powerful coalition of women migrant workers in Lebanon, stand united in solidarity to express a shared vision for the rights of migrant domestic workers. In our pursuit of mutual aid, solidarity, justice and equity, we present the following manifesto, committing to reshape narratives, advocate for protection, and catalyse real change in the lives of migrant workers, with a specific focus on Lebanon.

1. Changing the Narrative

We challenge and seek to redefine the prevailing narrative surrounding migrant domestic workers in Lebanon. No longer shall we accept the dehumanising stereotypes and misconceptions. Domestic work is a vital contribution to society, and we demand respect, fair treatment, and the acknowledgement of our humanity. We firmly assert that domestic work is legitimate work, however, we reject the reduction of migrants solely to their occupational roles. We are more than domestic workers – we are individuals with diverse talents, dreams, and aspirations. We demand recognition as multifaceted contributors to society.

2. Building Power

To create lasting change, we recognise the importance of building power within our migrant communities. It is essential to acknowledge that division among us is counterproductive and only weakens our collective strength. We emphatically declare that we are not in competition; rather, we are stronger together. It is time to break free from the status quo imposed by international and local organisations that restrain our movements, making us reliant on external entities. We reject the narrative of charity and instead embrace the ethos of solidarity. Our movement is about taking control of our destinies, advocating for our rights, and addressing our issues with agency and self-determination. United, we will forge a new path as we usher in the change we seek. Solidarity, not charity – it's time for us to take our issues into our own hands and shape the future we deserve.

3. Bound by Kafala

Migrant Workers in Lebanon face daily struggles inherently tied to the Kafala system and to other systemic issues, including racism, sexism, and inequity. We bring these challenges to the forefront, advocating for real change to empower migrant workers and dismantle oppressive structures.

4. Emphasising Protection

Our campaign places a paramount focus on the protection of migrant domestic workers, including equipping our communities with the knowledge and tools to protect themselves. We call for robust measures to safeguard our rights, ensuring our well-being, safety, and protection from all forms of exploitation. Together, we strive to create an environment that upholds the dignity of every migrant worker.

5. Labour Law Inclusion

We advocate and support campaigns for the inclusion of migrant workers' rights in labour laws. It is imperative that our rights are codified and protected within the legal framework, ensuring that we have recourse against exploitation and injustice.

6. Beyond Borders

Our movement extends beyond borders, advocating for the rights of migrant workers in the region and those who have returned home. We demand recognition, fair treatment, and protection for all migrant workers, transcending national boundaries and fostering solidarity among communities.

7. Equity Over Equality

Our vision extends beyond mere equality: we strive for equity. Recognising the unique challenges faced by migrant workers, we demand fair access to opportunities, resources and justice. Equity ensures that each individual receives what they need to thrive.

In Closing

In the pursuit of our rights, we declare unequivocally that our power and our freedom will not be compromised. The Reclaim Our Rights collective stands strong, ready to dismantle oppressive systems and create a future where every migrant worker is treated with dignity and respect.


Our Rights. Our Power. Our Freedom.

#ReclaimOurRights