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Moratorium violates workers’ rights: Migrant Care

Jakarta Post - 6 May 2015 - Rights group Migrant Care has slammed the government’s recent decision to halt the sending of migrant workers in the informal sector to Middle Eastern countries, saying that the move will violate workers’ rights.

Rights group Migrant Care has slammed the government’s recent decision to halt the sending of migrant workers in the informal sector to Middle Eastern countries, saying that the move will violate workers’ rights.

“Every citizen is entitled to the right to work as guaranteed by the Constitution,” Migrant Care director Anis Hidayah told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.

Anis said that migrant workers opted to work abroad as the government had failed to meet its obligation to provide job opportunities within the country.

“They are not given sufficient opportunities at home but are prohibited from going abroad. Where should they go?” she said.

The government halted the sending of Indonesian migrant workers to 21 countries in the Middle East as part of efforts to protect workers in the informal sector following mounting concerns over problems surrounding the workers, such as those related to labor regulations and rights violations.

The government will no longer allow migrant workers to be sent to Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates or Yemen.

Anis added that the government’s move could lead to discrimination against workers in the informal sector.

“Domestic workers have a similar position to workers in other sectors. And this should be legally recognized by all countries,” she said, referring to the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention of 2011 on domestic workers, which the government had yet to ratify.

Article 3 of the convention stipulates that governments should take measures to push for the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.

Meanwhile, Manpower Minister Muhammad Hanif Dhakiri said that according to the law, the government had the right to stop placing migrant workers in particular countries if it viewed that their employment would degrade human values.

Hanif said migrant workers in Middle Eastern countries lacked protection, especially due to a local culture in which employers had ultimate control over the lives of workers.

“This culture often leads to migrant workers becoming highly dependent on their employers. It also weakens their positions, their working conditions and lives,” he said recently, adding that the culture complicated protection measures.

The government had previously suspended the dispatch of migrant workers to a number of countries in the Middle East in 2007.

“Of the 21 countries, at least six were included in the last moratorium,” Anis said.

She said that despite the previous moratorium, the placement of domestic workers had continued. “After these years, there has been no evaluation.”

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Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/05/06/moratorium-violates-workers-rights-migrant-care.html

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