Monday, 14 February 2011

Urgent Appeal for Decent Work for Domestic Workers

Dear friends, DW organizations/unions/network, trade unions/network, women, human rights, labour,  organizations/networks

Greetings of solidarity from Jala PRT Indonesia,

Sisters and brothers, on 15th February 2011, we in Indonesia will commemorate the 5th Indonesian Domestic Workers Day since the day was launched in 2007. The background to this Domestic Workers Day surrounds the case of 14 year-old domestic worker Sunarsih, who was assaulted by her employer leading to her death in 2001, in the city of Surabaya.

Every year fellow domestic workers, domestic workers organizations and unions and the domestic workers network - JALA PRT - together with organizations and trade unions: KSBSI, KSPI, KSPSI, FSPMI, women's organizations that are concerned with the issue of domestic workers, commemorate DOMESTIC WORKERS DAY and remind the state, especially the Government and Parliament, about their continued failure to provide protection and to fulfil the rights of domestic workers. The momentum of this day is also used to campaign publicly on the importance of household work and domestic workers. In Indonesia, where the community is extremely dependent on the role and work of domestic workers, many employers and their families would be unable to work and do other activities if there were no domestic workers, for example during Eid el Fitri holidays when domestic workers usually return home to their village.

This 5th anniversary means that 10 years has passed since the death of Sunarsih, yet there has been no change with regards to the protection of domestic workers in Indonesia. As we know, Indonesia is a   country with one of largest numbers of domestic workers, including 10 million local domestic workers and six million migrant domestic workers. Ten years has passed but may other “Sunarsih” incidents still continue to occur and have even increased.

At the end of 2010, the Indonesian Parliament had planned to discuss the draft law on the Protection of Domestic Workers in 2010. However the plan was then abandoned. Similar to the Indonesian Parliament, the Government also does not seem to have the political will to pass a domestic workers law, and does not support an ILO Convention for the protection of domestic workers that was discussed during the 99th Session of the ILC (International Labour Conference) from 3 to 18 June 2010 in Geneva. The Government of Indonesia, as the country with the largest number of domestic workers in Asia and well as in the world, should be very concerned about the protection of domestic workers, yet it did not support the Convention. This attitude of the Indonesian Government and Parliament has allowed for the systematic violation of the rights of domestic workers.

Therefore we need to continue to advocate and collectively urge the Government and Parliament to take responsibility for the protection of domestic workers by deliberating and implementing a Domestic Workers Protection Act and support the establishment of the ILO Convention and Recommendations concerning decent work for domestic workers and ratify it.

Considering the situation of domestic workers, and the opportunities and momentum this Domestic Workers Day brings in Indonesia, we would like to invite our fellow friends, brothers and sisters, domestic workes organization/union, trade unions, women's organizations and various human rights, and workers organizations, networks to join together and urge the Government and Parliament, by writing and sending a Letter of Appeal, in support and in solidarity with Indonesian domestic workers to encourage the Government and the Parliament to immediately pass the Domestic Workers Bill and support the Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers at the 100th Session of the ILC in June 2011.

Please send your letter of solidarity via email to

We conclude by conveying our gratitude for your spirit and solidarity.
In Solidarity:
-     JALA PRT (National Network for Domestic Workers Advocacy)
-     Serikat PRT Tunas Mulia (Tunas Mulia Domestic Workers Union)
-     Kongres Operata Yogyakarta
-     Organisasi Pekerja Rumah Tangga Teratai Medan (Teratai Domestic Workers Organization from Medan)
-     Organisasi Pekerja Rumah Tangga Merdeka Semarang (Merdeka Domestic Workers Organization  from Semarang)
-     Persatuan Pekerja Rumah Tangga Jakarta (Domestic Workers Unity from Jakarta)
-     Komite Aksi Pekerja Rumah Tangga (Domestic Workers Action Committee): KSBSI, KSPI, KSPSI, FSPMI, SBMI
-     Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development

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