Monday, 13 December 2010

Stop All Forms of Human Rights Violations Against Indonesian Migrant Workers (IMWs) & Our Families! Provide Genuine Service and Protection for IMWs in Hong Kong!

The Association of Indonesian Migrant Workers in Hong Kong (ATKI-HK) unites with all Indonesian Migrant Workers (IMWs), NGOs and advocates in Indonesia and other destination countries to demand that the Indonesian government stops all forms of human rights abuses against IMWs and our families. ATKI-HK also urges the Indonesian government to stop neglecting IMWs overseas and to provide genuine protection for all IMWs immediately.

This neglect has impacted negatively on the lives of millions of IMWs overseas and our families in Indonesia. In the Middle East, hundreds of thousands are trapped in slave-like working conditions; hundreds are on deathrow, while others have died mysteriously or due to accidents; IMWs are used as sex slaves and are victims of serious abuses and other violations.

In Malaysia, despite the similiarities in language, culture and religion, many IMWs experience physical and sexual abuses, they are unpaid and have no rest days. They are controlled fully by private agencies and are bound by the anti-migrant policies of the Malaysian Government resulting in many who are forced to be undocumented. In Taiwan, hundreds are imprisoned as they attempt to escape from abusive employers and to avoid the mandatory high placement fees of 15-21 months of salary deductions.

In Hong Kong, where the number of IMWs has increased to 140,000 and currently constitutes the biggest migrant population, we shoulder the impact of the Indonesian government’s lack of concern for IMWs. This attitude is exemplified in their actions, such as:
§  Legalization of HK$21,000, an extremely high placement fee, charged through 5-7 months deduction of IMWs’ salaries. Despite a new policy issued in 2004 lowering the fees to HK$9,000 and another policy in 2008 lowering the fees further to HK$15,000, there has been no implementation. Worse, IMWs who fail to pay their fees are harassed and their families in Indonesia are terrorized to pay the fees. Some IMW who dared to lodge reports at the Indonesian Consulate, found that their cases were left unattended.

§  Forcing all IMWs to go through recruitment agency by banning direct hiring resulting in many IMWs, who have already been overseas for years, continuing to be victimized by high fees. Despite the HK Government’s regulation of commission 10% of first month salary only, most IMWs paid between HK$1,500 - HK$15,000.

§  Allowing recruitment agencies to confiscate our passports and employment contracts.

§  Forcing returned migrants to go to a Special Terminal for IMWs where they are exploited further.

In 2010, ATKI-HK received 1.462 complaints of cases mostly of outright termination, underpayment and non-payment of wages, illegal salary deductions, confiscation of passports and employment contracts by HK-Agency, overcharging and overstaying.

Ironically, each time that IMWs complained to Indonesia Consulate in Hong Kong, instead of receiving help, they are dealt with cynically or are openly rejected and sent back to their agencies. They can receive no assistance unless they have the contact of private organizations where they can get help. The situation faced by Kikin who was murdered by her employer and dumped in the rubbish bin, and Sumiati whose upper lip was cut off by her employer could have been avoided if they had know of their rights and where to get help. Access to information and assistance is possible for IMWs if the Indonesian Government is sincere about serving and protecting their own people.


The Indonesian Government has violated the rights of IMWs as Indonesian citizens. They have failed to provide decent jobs for their own people back home, where poverty is prevalent with high levels of unemployment. They further exploit their people by exporting them abroad without ensuring IMWs’ rights, safety and welfare. Without shame, the government passed its responsibility for protecting IMWs to private recruitment agencies and continue enslaving IMWs. This system of labour export has been legalized under Law No. 39 on Deployment and Protection for Indonesian Overseas Workers and the government refuses to ratify the UN Convention on the Protection of Migrant Workers and Their Families. To address these violations, the Indonesian government must change their treatment of IMWs, like commodities for export. IMWs are first and foremost Indonesians who bear the rights of citizenship. The job of the Indonesian government is to uphold the rights of all IMWs.

ATKI-HK is calling the Indonesian Government to fulfill the following demands to ensure the protection of IMWs in Hong Kong:
1.     Stop forcing IMWs to use recruitment agencies!
2.     Direct hiring for all IMWs!
3.     Lower placement fees! Enforce 10% of one-month’s salary as commission for HK-based agencies!
4.     Repeal UUPPTKILN. No. 39!
5.     Ratify UN Convention on the Protection for Migrant Workers and Their Families!
6.     Approve Law of Domestic Workers in Indonesia!

Press Statement
10 December 2010
Eni Lestari, Chairperson (852-96081475)
Karsiwen, Vice Chairperson (852-91405357)

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