Indonesia bans domestic helpers working in ME

Indonesia has banned its nationals from working in the Middle East after Indonesian domestic workers were executed in April after they were found guilty of murder.

Indonesia bans domestic helpers working in ME

World Bulletin / News Desk

Indonesia is to stop sending its nationals to work as domestic help in 21 countries worldwide, claiming that they are prone to human rights violations and being underpaid.

The plan is part of a new effort to clamp down on the abuse of Indonesians in the international domestic sector, Manpower and Transmigration Minister Hanif Dhakiri told reporters in Jakarta.

"As the road map is applied, then all delivery and placement of Indonesia domestic workers to 21 countries in the Middle East is illegal and categorized as human trafficking," he said.

He added that the country also intends tightening policy related to the placement of such workers in Asia Pacific.

The decision comes in the wake of the execution in April of two Indonesian domestic workers found guilty of murder in Saudi Arabia.

The foreign ministry summoned Saudi's ambassador to Indonesia after both executions, complaining it had not been informed prior to execution.

Human rights groups have long said that such workers are being abused by their employers.

Migrant Care, an NGO which campaigns on behalf of Indonesian expatriate workers, has alleged that a domestic worker beheaded after being convicted of killing her employer's wife in Saudi Arabia had a suspected mental illness and was acting in self-defense after the employer had abused her.

The family of another domestic worker currently detained in Saudi Arabia told The Anadolu Agency on Tuesday that they hope that the new pressure might allow her to return home.

Satinah's daughter Nur Afriana told AA that her mother appears to have had had a stroke while in Al-Gaseem prison in Saudi Arabia on murder charges.

"I hope she can soon come back home so we can take care of her," she said from her house in Central Java. "I'm afraid for her because she cannot eat."

Human rights groups claim that Satinah - many Indonesians use only one name - had been repeatedly tortured by her 70-year-old female employer before she killed her.

Satinah currently resides in jail, although her death sentence was rescinded after the Indonesian government paid the victim's family Diyat (blood money) of Rp 21 billion ($161,226) last year.

The 21 countries affected by the ban include Saudi Arabia – a major destination for Indonesian maids – Bahrain, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Lebanon, Egypt, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Syria, United Emirate Arab, Yemen, and Jordan.

Countries and regions not affected in the Middle East are Cyprus, Iraqi Kurdish Administration, and Turkey. Indonesia does not recognize Israel.

Also on the list are Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, Pakistan, Southern Sudan, and Tunisia.

Dhakiri said that the policy applied predominantly to Middle East countries because they still apply Kafalah -- a sponsorship system that makes maids dependent on their employers by not allowing them to change jobs without their permission.

As a result of that system, many domestic worker cannot return to their home country even though their contracts have expired, he said

He added that the standard salary in Middle East Countries is around $210 a month - the minimum wage in Jakarta.

The ban will go into affect in three months, and is expected to apply to more than 67,000 Indonesians.

Last Mod: 05 Mayıs 2015, 17:22
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