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31 Okt 2023

By Rebecca Ratcliffe and Navaon Siradapuvadol, The Guardian (UK)

Israel: Worker rights experts say migrants particularly vulnerable amid attacks due to lack of health & safety training or access to information

…Komkrit had told them before about violence locally, including one time when he had hid in a bunker. The fighting would normally end in a few days, he would say, adding that he didn’t feel unsafe.

Workers’ rights experts, however, say migrant workers are especially vulnerable. Often employers and middlemen neglect to brief them properly about how to protect themselves, and a language barrier means they have less access to information, said Assia Ladizhinskaya, a spokesperson for Kav LaOved, which advocates for marginalised workers in Israel.

“Many workers, they have never heard a siren before. We have been interviewing workers in previous wars and they didn’t know this sound means danger – they didn’t know that they have to run and hide,” said Ladizhinskaya.

If the field is far away from houses, they might not even hear a siren. Nor would Iron Dome, Israel’s anti-missile system that intercepts rockets launched from the Gaza Strip, protect the kinds of open spaces where they worked, she added.

On the day of the Hamas attack, in which 1,400 Israelis were killed, Kav LaOved received messages from migrant workers, some asking where they should go to hide.

… “A government that abandoned its citizens certainly abandoned the workers who grow its fruit and vegetables,” Hareetz wrote