Thursday, 30 June 2011

Indonesia Must Take Immediate Action to Protect Migrant Domestic Workers: A Call for Endorsements

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Indonesia Neglecting its Legal Responsibility to Migrant Domestic Workers

The plight of Indonesian domestic workers has once again come under the media spotlight with the beheading of Ruyati in Saudi Arabia this month. Ruyati had appealed to her employment agency in Saudi Arabia to remove her from unbearable conditions that included insufficient food, no rest time and withholding of pay by her employer as well as continuous physical and emotional abuse by her employer’s mother. The employment agency threatened Ruyati with violations of her contract if she left. Trapped and unable to bear the abuse, Ruyati killed her employer’s mother and confessed to the crime. After being neglected by her own government as well, Ruyati was beheaded six months later.

Today, 303 Indonesian migrant workers, who like Ruyati suffered abuse and neglect, are on death row awaiting the final and brutal consequence of being abandoned by their government.

In Indonesia, the Government’s insufficient and misguided response is to place a moratorium on deployment to Saudi Arabia in August, as it did with Malaysia in 2009. This paternalistic response will only increase the risk of women being smuggled or trafficked and coming to more harm. Any type of ban by sending or receiving governments only leads migration going underground and workers becoming more vulnerable to rights abuses. The Indonesian government needs to enforce protections that have been put in place to ensure the right of workers overseas. If this had been done, Ruyati’s employment agency would have acted accountable for her wellbeing and removed her due to the breach of contract and infringement of human rights by her employer.

Law No. 39/2004 on Deployment and Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers provides full authority to recruitment agencies to recruit, deploy and to “protect”, but it is the governments obligations to ensure that agencies do not just recruit and deploy. Law No.39 leads to numerous exploitations such as falsification of identities, high fees, confinement in recruitment agencies, confiscation of travel documents, etc. An agency’s function should be limited to recruitment only, while the government should regulate the fees and ensure protection through MoUs and recognised employment contracts.

Just this month, rights advocates celebrated the Indonesian Government changing its position and voting in favour of the newly adopted Convention and Recommendation Concerning Decent Work for Domestic Workers at the International Labour Conference. Under Article 15 (1) (c) member states shall adopt all necessary and appropriate measures to provide adequate protection for and prevent abuses of domestic workers recruited by private employment agencies.

Indonesia’s Government enjoys enormous benefits from the remittances of migrant workers and from the fees collected by agencies, it is time for the government to act to ensure the employment agencies are taking responsibility for workers under the law. It is also time for the Indonesian government to start taking the full responsibility in looking after the welfare of their own people overseas and stop transferring the protection to the recruitment agency. The Government of Indonesia must ensure that women like Ruyati do not have to resort to violence to get out of situations of extreme human rights abuse. We call on Indonesia to lead the way and ratify the convention and take further actions to prevent more women like Ruyati from losing their lives.

We call on the Indonesian Government to:

-repatriate Ruyati’s body and claim her unpaid contractual benefits;

-provide appropriate legal and diplomatic assistance for Indonesian migrant workers charged with crimes while overseas;

-send a high level mission to Saudi Arabia to investigate and document the cases of women migrant workers in prison and call for the release of any women who have not committed internationally recognised crimes;

-change the Placement and Protection Law No.39/2004 by allowing for direct hiring; limit the scope of recruitment agencies to recruitment only; and regulate fees. Where agencies fail in their obligations Indonesia should enforce appropriate penalties;

-lead the way and ratify the Convention and Recommendation Concerning Decent Work for Domestic Workers and;

-instead of placing a moratorium on deployment of new workers, work with other countries to increase protections for workers already overseas and those who will soon depart.

Endorse here


jobs in brisbane said...

Every employee must have their protection either domestic or local. Every worker is a worker!

cielle said...

There are lots of people working outside their country, doing sacrifices for their families, I really definitely support this.
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