BEIRUT: Two rights groups on Wednesday criticized a Lebanese judicial council decision to strike down a new work contract for foreign domestic workers, calling it a “sharp blow” to their rights.

The labor ministry in September approved the revised contract giving migrant helpers more rights, including being able to resign at will and keep their own passports — to stop some employers confiscating them.

But recruitment agencies who bring in workers filed a complaint, and the State Council on October 14 issued a temporary decision to block it from coming into force.

“The State Council has delivered a sharp blow to migrant domestic workers rights by suspending the implementation of the new standard unified contract,” said Diala Haidar of Amnesty International.