Lebanon: Servants are people too

Lebanon?s population of three million includes a hidden population of 150,000 illegal migrants and refugees from Africa and Asia. The Pastoral Committee for Afro-Asian Migrants (PCAAM), in which three Jesuits are involved, offers them pastoral support, legal aid and medical assistance. PCAAM helps those from Ethiopia and Sri Lanka who have the greatest difficulties with the language, visits those in prison, broadcasts radio programmes and publishes a bulletin. Iraqis and Sudanese are the majority of political refugees, but the Sudanese (usually Christians from the south who have fled from the war) are rarely granted asylum. The migrant labourers are mostly women, hired by upper-middle class Lebanese for domestic work, and they are often terribly exploited by their agencies and employers and harassed by the police. Fr McDermott comments: ?PCAAM?s most urgent task is education so that the Lebanese employers, who belong to Christian churches, become aware that their domestic servants are human beings.? [HL11105]