Social protection not charity Inclusion, advocacy
Fifty five percent of Lebanon’s working population is in the informal economy, without access to any form of social protection. This means that the majority of workers do not benefit from paid holiday, sick leave, maternity leave, health insurane or pension. As we are about to enter the third month of lockdown, the Lebanese Government has yet to present a coordinated response to protect the most vulnerable families. The government’s emergency program to provide cash assistance amounting to 400,000 LBP per family to the most vulnerable families has been postponed indefinitely. In the meantime, the poverty rate is estimated to reach 45% in 2020, with the price of a food basket containing basic food stuffs increasing by just over 40% between September 2019 and March 2020. This forces many workers, particularly informal and daily workers, to choose between their own health and public health and their livelihoods. NGOs can help fill in the gaps, but citizens have a right to social protection not charity.
As more and more workers are at risk of salary reductions, unemployment or loss of livelihoods, we call on the Lebanese government to prioritize the gradual implementation of universal social protection for all.