Thursday, 1 December 2011

Draft resolution may be one sided

Indonesia Scores in Fight for Women Migrant Workers Protection

Ismira Lutfia | November 24, 2011 / Jakarta Globe

A UN committee has approved a draft resolution presented by Indonesia on violence against women migrant workers, but activists warn that it wields no power unless it is ratified by all host and origin countries.

In a statement released on Thursday, Yusra Khan, Indonesian deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, said that the resolution was meant to improve protection for women migrant workers from violence, abuse, discrimination and exploitation.

The resolution was initiated by the Philippines and Indonesia, the countries sending out the highest number of migrant workers, and was approved by consensus at a meeting of the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly.

“The issue of violence against migrant workers, especially women, has long been a major concern for the government and the people of Indonesia,” Yusra said.

“This resolution stresses the importance of a holistic approach in dealing with women migrant workers, where protection of the workers’ rights must be accompanied by efforts to recognize their dignity and their contribution to the development of the community in both the origin and destination countries.”

According to a UN statement, the approval means the General Assembly will call on governments that have not yet done so to “adopt and implement legislation and policies that protect all women migrant domestic workers and call on them — in particular those of the countries of origin and destination — to put in place penal and criminal sanctions.”

It also urged all governments to “take action to prevent and punish any form of illegal deprivation of the liberty of women migrant workers by individuals or groups.”

Haris Azhar, coordinator of the Commission on Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), welcomed the approval of the draft resolution, but raised some doubt about its effectiveness.

“It’s a positive step, but a resolution is politically binding by nature, and not legally binding, which would require all governments to implement it into their legal systems,” he said.

He added that it was important that the provisions in the resolution be made legally binding for all destination countries for migrant workers that were members of the United Nations.

“If it’s only adopted by countries that send migrant workers, such as Indonesia and the Philippines, and not by the host countries, then it will be one-sided,” Haris said.

See the article here

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