Thursday, 25 November 2010

Sumiyati and the Clinking of Remittances

Wahyu Susilo, policy analyst for Migrant Care and Program Manager at INFID
 Friday, 19 November 2010 | 05:05 WIB

The horrific abuse suffered by Sumiyati, a migrant worker from Dompu, West Nusa Tenggara – her lips cut off by scissors by her employer in Saudi Arabia — is the umpteenth time that such ill-treatment has befallen Indonesian women working in foreign countries.

In the next couple of days but in less than a week, we will be bombarded with expressions of deep concern from public officials and promises to resolve the case. In weeks ahead, these promises will simply fade away until we are once again distressed over the next incident of abuse and torture.There are too many cases of ill-treatment and murder against Indonesian migrant workers to recall, most of which remains unresolved to this day. The President, Minister of Manpower and Transmigration and Minister of Foreign Affairs may fail to remember the ordeal of Ceriyati, Kurniasih, Siti Hajar, Siti Tarwiyah, Susmiyati, Sariah, Winfaida, and dozens of other names who were promised that their case would be brought to justice. Read more 

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

The last to know

Farah Naqvi, Hindustan Times
November 23, 2010
Laws in India are made by stealth, under cover of darkness. The Protection of Women against Sexual Harassment at the Workplace Bill, 2010, made news recently when the Cabinet cleared it. It's now apparently waiting in the wings to enter Parliament. Media reports state that domestic workers aren't covered by the Bill.
Read more

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Singapore Cracks Down On Employment Agencies!

16 November 2010 MOM Revokes Licences of 15 Employment Agencies - see the full story at 
UFDWR asks - what happens to the migrant domestic workers  hired by these employment agencies?

Migrants from around the world blocked from approaching the site of GFMD

Eni Lestari from IMA at the IAMR3

[PUERTO VALLARTA] On 10 November 2010, over 500 demonstrators from the The Peoples’ Caravan Against the Global Forum on Migration Development (GFMD) were met by police, clad with riot gear.  The rally against the GFMD consisted of international delegates of the Third International Assembly of Migrants and Refugees (IAMR3), the Madres de los desaparecidos [mothers of the disappeared] from Honduras, the ex-braceros representing 24 states of Mexico, the indigenous peoples of Michoacan, and students from Tamaulipas, the site of the massacare of 72 migrant workers earlier this year.  The Caravan spent the last two days traveling from Mexico City and Guadalajara to accurately voice the concerns of migrant workers across the globe. 

Fr. Luis Angel Nieto of Comite Promotor de Mexico said, “No pueden hacer un foro de migrantes, sin migrantes.   Somos de todas partes de Mexico, unidos con migrantes del mundo. Nos representamos la voz actual de migrantes y decimos no al FMMD.” [They cannot have a forum on migrants without migrants.  We have come from all parts of Mexico, joined by migrants from around the world. We represent the true voice of migrants and we say no to GFMD.]  Many of the demonstrators belonged to international movements that address labor issues and the lack of protections for migrants from developing nations.

 The Puerto Vallarta police blocked off major roads to contain the protest shortly after the march was initiated.  “Every year we protest the GFMD and ever year this is what the states do,” said chairperson of the International Migrants Alliance, Eni Lestari, at the police blockade.  “While they discuss how to exploit us, they silence us and they shut us out.  We say to them: as long as the GFMD exists we will come back year after year to continue our fight for migrant rights.” 

Julia Camagong of Philippine Forum (New York, USA) said, "The GFMD is illegitimate. It does not protect the rights and welfare of the migrants and refugees. It does not speak for migrants and only reflects the interests of the corporations and neoliberal policies that further exploit and oppress the migrants of the world. It should therefore be dismantled.”

For the last four years, the GFMD has used the guise of “development” to usurp the actual needs of migrants in favor of transnational trade agreements.  Much of the structural improvements put forth by the GFMD focus on remittance models, instead of creating sustainable employment opportunities within the given host nations. 

Camagong said, “It is the IAMR3 that is the true voice of the migrants workers. We saw this clearly in the eyes of the international delegates who attended the assembly in Mexico City; the ex-braceros in Guadalajara; the families from the provinces of Michoacan, Oaxaca, and Zacatecas; the Honduran mothers of the disappeared; and the students from Tamaulipas, all of whom united in the streets of Puerto Vallarto to oppose the GFMD.”

This mobilization was the conclusion of the Third International Assembly of Migrants and Refugees (IAMR3), which took place from November 6 – 10. The assembly and caravan operated with no budget, but was made possible by the broad grassroots support of migrant organizations throughout Mexico and all over the world. 


For more information visit:

Monday, 8 November 2010

Rights at risk at the Global Forum on Migration and Development

A leading women rights organisation has urged governments to put rights at the centre of their discussions on migration and development this week. The Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD) today launched a new publication to advance the rights of domestic workers and in doing so expressed concern that some governments are happy to enable migration as a cheap source of labour for the Global North while some countries from the Global South see it as a source of foreign income via remittances.

“We urge governments to put human rights at the centre of their discussions on migration and development” said APWLD Regional Coordinator, Kate Lappin. “A purely market driven approach to migration exacerbates the exploitation of women, it makes the exploitation of women’s labour and bodies highly profitable for some”.

The Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) is an annual intergovernmental meeting which this year takes place in Mexico. The theme this year is “Partnerships for Migration and Development: Shared Prosperity – Shared Responsibility”. APWLD insists that shared responsibility starts with a rights based approach to labour migration.

“The GFMD can only be a success if some substantive commitments to advancing the rights of migrant workers are made. Those commitments include: A commitment to a strong International Labour Organisation Convention on Domestic Workers; a recognition that Domestic Work is Work and should be remunerated as such; the eradication of labour laws that treat migrant workers, including undocumented workers, differently to other workers; a recognition of migrant workers rights to organise and unionise; strong regulation of agencies and intermediaries who profit from migration”.

Members of the United for Foreign Domestic Workers Rights (UFDWR), including APWLD, are today launching a new advocacy tool to advance domestic workers rights titled “The Right To Unite”.  “This handbook captures the contexts of ten countries in the region in relation to domestic worker rights. Time and time again, we have proven that when amplified by our collectivity, our voices can foster change. It is our hope for this publication and it is the driving force behind our struggle for domestic worker rights to organise,” said Eni Lestari, domestic worker and domestic worker rights activist.

For further information please contact Tina Lee:

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Endorse the UFDWR submission to the ILO!

In June 2011 the ILC will be finalising the Convention and Recomendation on Domestic Work, based on the proposed instruments UFDWR has written up an analysis and recommended changes to the instruments and is now calling for individual and organisational endorsements for this submission, please read the submission in PDF form by clicking on the link below:

The UFDWR submission to the international labour organisation for amendment to the proposed convention and recommendation on domestic work. 

Then please click the link below to include your endorsement before the 17th Nov.
CLICK HERE TO ENDORSE THE STATEMENT (this will take less than 30 seconds to complete)

New UFDWR publication "The right to Unite" to be launched at the IAMR3

The Right to Unite: A Handbook on Domestic Worker Rights across Asia
A New Advocacy Tool for Domestic Worker Rights

“The Right to Unite: A Handbook on Domestic Worker Rights across Asia”, will be available for the first time during the IAMR3. This new resource tool is both an introduction to women and domestic work in Asia and an in depth look at the hidden violations of domestic worker rights in ten countries in the region. Designed for advocacy, this handbook breaks down information country by country. It contains the latest ILO instruments on domestic work and analyses them in relation to women domestic worker rights. It identifies gaps, highlights concerns and gives concrete recommendations for change.

It has been made possible by the collaborative efforts of the United for Foreign Domestic Workers’ Rights coalition. It is an example of how collective voices can amplify our social movements. This belief in collective strength is what is behind this new tool to promote the right to unite; the right to organise; the right to stand together and demand rights for all workers regardless of sector, gender or nationality. Download the publication here