President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo's planned ban on the dispatch of Indonesian migrant workers would be a big 'setback' for the country's efforts to create decent work for its citizens, no matter where and under what conditions, and violates the Constitution, an NGO concerned about migrant-worker protection has said.
'All Indonesian citizens have the right to seek decent work and it is the responsibility of the state to protect them no matter where they work,' Migrant Care executive director Anis Hidayah said on Sunday.
The workers' rights activist said she was speaking in response to President Jokowi's plan, revealed during his speech at the opening of the Hanura Party's national congress in Surakarta, Central Java, on Friday that he would ban Indonesian women working abroad as domestic helpers as they had become a source of the country's problems and lowered the nation's dignity.
Explicitly, Anis said, the President had ordered Manpower Minister Muhammad Hanif Dhakiri to create a road map and a target for bringing to an end the dispatch of the migrant workers.
'It seems that President Jokowi has forgotten or broken his vision and mission compiled in the so-called Nawacita in which he promised to guarantee and was committed to protecting the rights of female domestic workers both in Indonesia and abroad,' she said.
Jokowi delivered his nine-point Nawacita agenda during his presidential nomination in the 2014 election.
'President Jokowi ought not to forget that one of contributors to his victory were Indonesian voters abroad, who are mostly Indonesian female domestic workers,' said Anis.
Migrant Care policy analyst Wahyu Susilo said in the perspective of human rights, poor working and living conditions experienced by Indonesian female migrant workers, and their increased vulnerability, must be responded to with improved state protection and a total reform of institutional bureaucracy, which had been long dominated by corrupt elements, at the Manpower Ministry and the Agency for the Placement and Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers (BNP2TKI).
'They have long taken advantage of the exploitation of our migrant female domestic workers,' he said.
Migrant Care urged President Jokowi to be more serious in improving the management of the dispatch of Indonesia's female domestic workers, which should be based on the fulfillment of human rights and be non-discriminatory toward women. (ebf)(++++)