Rights campaigners said the launch of a new contract for migrant domestic workers in Lebanon was a positive first step but that far deeper reform was needed to abolish the kafala sponsorship system they blame for widespread labour abuses.

Caretaker Labour Minister Lamia Yammine said on Friday she had issued a standard unified contract that “enshrines the rights” of the foreign workers, whose plight during Lebanon’s economic crisis and COVID-19 lockdown sparked global outcry.

Rights groups warned, however, that strict enforcement including labour inspections and complaints procedures would be required to dismantle the kafala system, which binds migrant workers to one employer and is common in the Middle East.