National

Govt told to protect migrant
workers

The National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan) is calling on the government to ratify ILO Convention No. 189 on decent work for domestic workers as the majority of migrant workers abroad are females in the domestic sector.

“We want to remind the President [Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono] about his promise to protect domestic workers that he gave at the ILO meeting in 2011,” migrant workers commissioner Agustinus Supriyanto said after an event to commemorate International Domestic Workers Day, which fell on Sunday, June 16.

Agustinus said the commission wanted the government to implement recommendations from the Universal Periodic Review from the United Nations (UN), which stipulates that the government must pass a bill on domestic workers protection, as well as ensure the work status of domestic workers.

He said 70 percent of Indonesian migrant workers in Saudi Arabia were in the domestic sector. These workers face problems with the Indonesian Consulate General in Jeddah, especially when trying to apply for travel documents in lieu of passports required for exiting that country.

“The recent incident in Jeddah was simply the climax of similar events that have occurred in the past,” Agustinus said. He criticized the government for its slow response to the victims of rioting.

Komnas Perempuan commissioner Tumbu Saraswati said Indonesia should learn from other countries, for example, Malaysia urged its consulate general’s staff to handle migrant workers’ administrative
processes in only one day.

“We are concerned about this incident, which the government could have prevented,” she said.

Last week a riot at the Indonesian consulate general in Jeddah occurred following a stampede into the consulate office by hundreds of Indonesian migrant workers — mostly illegal — who were lining up to get exit visas. Consulate officials were powerless to stop the incident, which resulted in one female migrant worker from East Java being killed during the furor.

Domestically, there have been frequent cases of abuse against domestic workers.

In the latest case, Fitrianingsih, 19, and Sipora Sanam, 23, escaped from a house on Jl. José Rizal in Medan, North Sumatra, after being beaten by their employers. The two women from Nganjuk, East Java, and Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara, had been working for 15 and 10 months respectively, at the house, but had not been paid at all during that time. (tam)

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