Urgent Action: Save Roja - FreedomUnited.org

Save Roja


We urgently need your help. Earlier this month two domestic workers were arrested in Lebanon. Their names are Sushila Rana and Roja Limbu. Reports from our partners on the ground suggest these arrests were due to the women’s support of domestic workers in the country, many of whom have been exploited.1 Sushila has since been forcibly deported back to Nepal without any legal advice or appeal, and Roja is still imprisoned.

We are requesting the Lebanese Government immediately free Roja Limbu and allow her legal representation.

Roja is now detained in prison and has been refused access to lawyers. Our partner, the International Domestic Worker Federation, has been unable to talk to her since her arrest. This is a desperate situation and in a last effort to free Roja we are launching a petition calling on the Lebanese Government to release her without charge.

We need as many signatures as possible to ensure our voice is heard – please help Roja and sign our petition now.

Sushila and Roja are founding members of the Domestic Workers’ Union in Lebanon – the first union of its kind in the Middle East, where the kefala system leaves many migrant workers vulnerable to domestic slavery. They have dedicated their lives to standing up for domestic workers and supporting victims of domestic slavery.2 Now they are the ones being persecuted. The Lebanese Government refuse to recognize the Union and have criminalized attempts by migrant workers to voice concerns.3

The estimated 250,000 migrant domestic workers in Lebanon are excluded from national labor laws that makes them extremely vulnerable to domestic slavery.4 Without activists like Sushila and Roja fighting for domestic worker rights on the ground, many migrant domestic workers would find themselves completely isolated in a country that does little to protect them.

We have no time to spare – sign our petition and stand behind the work of activists like Roja and Sushila.

Campaign updates

March 2017: Roja has this personal message to share with Freedom United activists that supported her case:

“I am very thankful to all those generous and kind hearted supporters who signed [the] petition to support me. There are 250,000 estimated domestic workers in Lebanon, but very few are lucky to have good employers. Sujana and I were deported for our active work to support Nepali domestic workers. We were treated very badly but I hope in future [the] new generation domestic workers will get more power and support from all of you.”

February 2017: Roja has been unexpectedly deported from Lebanon back to Nepal. During a press conference in Kathmandu, Roja and Sushila, thanked everyone for their support during their ordeal. Roja also spoke of her experience of physical and emotional torture during her time in prison. Read more here. We are working with our partners to find the best way to support Roja and Sushila going forward.

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Our partner in this campaign:

International Domestic Workers Federation

International Domestic Workers Federation (IDWF) is a membership-based global organization of domestic and household workers. Its objective is to build a strong, democratic and united domestic/household workers global organization to protect and advance domestic workers' rights everywhere. As of July 2016, IDWF has 59 affiliates from 48 countries, with 500,897 domestic workers organized. Most of these are trade unions and others are associations and workers co-ops.

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