Monday, 25 April 2011

Colombo Process on Mirgrant Workers focuses on domestic work

The 4th Colombo Process Ministerial Meeting concluded in Dhaka on Thursday, this year it had a focus on domestic workers. A 'Dhaka Declaration' was unanimously adopted containing an eight-point recommendation to promote rights, welfare and dignity of migrant workers. The things it calls for are standard and rather general such as "ensuring promotion and protection of the rights of all migrant workers and their families including their social and economic rights as well as improving the welfare and dignity of the workers, especially women," and "effectively addressing the specific concerns of vulnerable groups of migrant workers especially women, domestic workers, low-skill and low-wage workers". It is also non-binding. 

It was attended by 11 nations, but Burma was absent. Jackie Pollock of the Thailand-based Migrant Assistance Program (MAP) a member of UFDWR, said that “it has been deliberate policy [from the Burmese government] because they haven’t acknowledged the vast majority who left the country. As far as the Burmese are concerned, they didn’t exist”. She said the government was afraid “because if they really start talking to migrants and providing services then they have to talk about people’s rights and protecting them, and if they do that overseas then they have to do that at home”. For more see DVB article.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Indonesian Government wants to stop sending domestic workers overseas, but the MOU may soon be signed

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, hopes that no more Indonesians would be employed as domestic helpers overseas in the future. There is a master plan aimed at accelerating and expanding economic development until 2025, but it is clear that more well paying jobs will have to be created in Indonesian before women will stop wanting to go overseas to work. If suitable jobs are not created before the avenues for 'low skilled' migration are restricted, then this may lead to an increase in smuggling and trafficking, meaning more dangers for Indonesian women who want to earn a living and care for their families.

Also in the news, once again there are reports that Indonesia and Malaysia will sign the long awaited MOU next month, reopening Malaysia for Indonesian domestic workers once again. There has been agreement on the four issues that were holding up the finalisation of the MOU, namely the one-day off a week, handling of the maid's passport according to the immigration law, the costs charged by the recruiting agents and the issue of 'runaways'. It is yet unclear whether these issues have been resolved in the domestic workers favour or not. If the MOU does not respect the rights of migrant domestic workers then it would be better at this stage to continue discussions, as the growing waiting list of Malaysians wanting a domestic worker may put pressure on the Malaysian government to accept Indonesia's terms.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Call for organisational endorsements


It is time to stop the slavery-like conditions endured by domestic workers. An international agreement that recognises that domestic workers are entitled to be treated fairly as workers is essential. Last year, the International Labour Conference proposed just that. However, neither the Indonesian nor Malaysian Governments supported the proposed domestic workers convention.

Support the campaign to ask these governments to vote to adopt the Convention and Recommendation on domestic work at the International Labour Conference in June 2011.

Together our voices of concern will be loud and influential.



APWLD’s letter writing campaign will take our collective voices and urge the Indonesian and Malaysian governments to vote to adopt the ILOs proposed Convention and Recommendation on Domestic Work.

Not an organisation? You can still support this action and sign the petition here

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Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Pemerintah Didesak Tuntaskan Aturan Buruh Migran,20110410-326409,id.html
Minggu, 10 April 2011

TEMPO Interaktif, Jakarta --Pemerintah didesak untuk segera menyelesaikan kerangka instrumen yang mengikat untuk perlindungan buruh migran di wilayah ASEAN. Posisi Indonesia sebagai ketua ASEAN dinilai mampu mendesak negara anggota lain untuk menyepakati pemberlakuan aturan tentang perlindungan buruh migran.
"Ini momentum karena Indonesia tahun ini sebagai ketua," kata Thaufiek Zulbahary, Kepala Divisi Program Migrasi, Traficking dan HIV/AIDS Solidaritas Perempuan di Jakarta, Ahad 10 April 2011. Jika kerangka instrumen perlindungan buruh migran bisa diselesaikan dan disetujui tahun ini, maka diharapkan tahun depan peraturan ini bisa diterapkan di seluruh negara-negara ASEAN.

ASEAN urged to speed up talks on migrant worker protection

Organizations gathered under the Taskforce on ASEAN Migrant Workers (TFAMW) group urged leaders in the region to address the issue of migrant workers by forming a regional framework this year that was legally binding on all ASEAN member states.

The call was one of nine recommendations made by the TFAMW-affiliated Indonesian Working Group on ASEAN Migrant Workers (IWGAMW) for the upcoming fourth meeting of the ASEAN Committee on Migrant Workers (ACMW) on April 11-12 in Jakarta.

“We have sent the ‘Nine Mandates’ to the Foreign Ministry’s Migrant Worker Placement Director Rostiawati who will lead the Indonesian delegation at the meeting,” Thaufiek Zulbahary from the IWGAMW told a press conference on Sunday. “Hopefully she will promote it at the meeting.” for more info see Jakarta Post

Bangladesh to ratify convention to protect migrant workers

News announced today that Bangladesh cabinet approved the proposal of ratifying the UN Convention on Protecting the Rights of Migrant Workers and their Family Members. Bangladesh signed the convention in 1998, but had not moved to ratify it until now. The Press Secretary said every year Bangladesh is sending about 400,000 workers abroad and at present 7.0 million Bangladeshis are working in different countries.In ratifying the convention this is another move in the right direction to protect migrant domestic workers' rights.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Lawsuit filed against President for not protecting Indonesian domestic workers

Activists file lawsuit against SBY, aides on negligence

Elly Burhaini Faizal, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Thu, 04/07/2011 8:00 AM | National

Activists have submitted a citizen lawsuit against President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, his aides and the House of Representatives, for failing to protect domestic workers in the country and abroad.

“This lawsuit signals that we want stronger protection for our domestic workers,” the National Network for Domestic Workers Advocacy (Jala PRT) coordinator, Lita Anggraini, told The Jakarta Post after filing the lawsuit at the Central Jakarta District Court on Tuesday.

Liti said the government should make more efforts to better protect domestic workers against physical and psychological abuse.

“Many Indonesian domestic workers still work and live in poor conditions due to the absence of proper laws needed to protect them against mistreatment from employers,” she said.

In total, seven entities are included in the lawsuit, comprising Yudhoyono, Vice President Boediono, Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, Law and Human Rights Minister Patrialis Akbar and Manpower and Transmigration Minister Muhaimin Iskandar, as well as the Indonesian Labor Placement and Protection Agency (BNP2TKI) and the House of Representatives.

For more go to: Jakarta Post

Monday, 4 April 2011

Sign the migrant domestic workers petition!

You may have noticed a new addition to this blog - namely the 'widget' at the side of this page. APWLD has launched a new online petition aimed at the Indonesian and Malaysian governments asking them to vote to adopt the ILOs proposed Convention on domestic work.
There will be updates on the petition on this site and we will also update you on Nur's case.
In the meantime, please make sure you sign the petition, spread it around your network, facebook it, tweet it, whatever you can do to get the signatures climbing and more letters going to the governments.

Friday, 1 April 2011

New Book by migrant domestic workers

Two Indonesian women who are migrant domestic workers have compiled short stories on working as a migrant domestic worker in both Singapore and Hong Kong.
“We started our book project around the time of the Sumiati case. We were concerned about people still regarding us [maids] as dumb. [Thus] we wanted to show them a different side of us,” the 27-year-old, who created her own blog,, with the catchy tagline “Babu juga bisa menulis” or “A maid — babu is a derogative term to refer to a maid — can also write” told The Jakarta Post recently.

The book will hopefully soon be available in English translation. For more information see
The Jakarta Post