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Press Conference – Commemoration of World Migrant Day 2019 in Surabaya

Mandate of Law No. 18 of 2017 concerning the Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers as written in Article 90 concerning Transitional Rules in this Law, that no later than 2 years after the date of ratification there must be derivative rules to replace the old rules that are outdated. In addition, all implementing regulations must pay attention to aspects of women’s protection and anti-human trafficking. Until today, it has been more than 2 years, no significant rules have been issued. The Indonesian government should have issued 2 Presidential Regulations, 11 Government Regulations, 12 Ministerial Regulations and 3 Agency Head Regulations. Of the 28 derived regulations that are supposed to be issued, there are only 3 Ministerial Regulations created to carry out the mandate to protect this Law.

Minister of Manpower Regulation (Permenaker) No. 18 of 2018 concerning Social Security of Indonesian Migrant Workers regulates the insurance and social security issues of Indonesian migrant workers through BPJS Employment, but this regulation is still very limited in scope so it needs to be encouraged to have more comprehensive rules. Meanwhile, Permenaker No. 9 and Permenaker No. 10 of 2019 is a hereditary rule that reduces and weakens the spirit of protection contained in Law No. 18/2017, because these 2 Ministerial Regulations continue to prioritize the role of the private sector in the management of labor migration. Hierarchically, the Permenaker also exceeds the governance authority that should be regulated in a higher regulation, namely Government Regulation.

Carry out the mandate of Law No. 18/2017 not only through the issuance of derivative rules. The Indonesian government should also prepare the transformation of labor migration management that was previously centralized to decentralized. This transformation requires readiness from the local government, starting from the provincial, district / city to village level.

However, until now there has also not been a significant step in this transformation process. The steps to establish One-Stop Integrated Services (LTSA) in a number of migrant worker enclaves have not been followed by maximizing public service functions in the regions to support the establishment of a mechanism for protecting migrant worker placement services in the regions. This law also mandates that education and training will also be carried out more in the regions, but until now the government still prioritizes private BLKNs for the process of preparing prospective migrant workers.

Within the framework of decentralized governance of labor migration, the Indonesian government (in this case the central government) should be able to learn from local initiatives that have been implemented in migrant worker base areas.

By passing the deadline for the commitment to protection as mandated by Law No. 18/2017, the Government of Indonesia is the main responsibility for the sustainability of vulnerabilities faced by Indonesian migrant workers. The absence of actual management of the transition period is an important step in evaluating the weaknesses of past migration governance, as well as formulating a road map for the protection of migrant workers in the future, resulting in a vacuum of rules which are maximally utilized by traffickers who are traversing the scheme placement of migrant workers.

The Indonesian government also has contributed to the rampant cases of trafficking in persons by producing policies that are misdirected related to the placement of migrant workers in the Middle East. Unattended moratorium policy triggers a high black market for the recruitment of migrant workers to the Middle East. The situation became more chaotic when the Indonesian Ministry of Manpower tested the placement of migrant workers to Saudi Arabia through a one-channel placement scheme. The main victims of this chaotic situation are women migrant workers.

Throughout 2019 there were still cases of violations of Indonesian migrant workers’ human rights. The death of Tamam (31 October 2019) and Ngatiyai (11 November 2019) in the queue for passport management at the Indonesian Embassy in Kuala Lumpur is an irony when the Ministry of Foreign Affairs always prioritizes the protection of Indonesian citizens as a priority for foreign policy. Hundreds of thousands of Indonesian migrant workers in Malaysia are still under threat of deportation. The central and regional government also did not take significant action when hundreds of bodies of migrant workers were returned to their hometown, East Nusa Tenggara.

Migrant workers also face new vulnerabilities related to the security policies of the countries of destination. Yuli Riswati, a female migrant worker who is also a citizen journalist for Migrant Post, was deported not only because of her immigration status, but also her activities in reporting the demonstration situation against the Extradition Bill in Hong Kong. While in Singapore, three Indonesian women migrant workers have to face trial for alleged funding of terrorist activities.

In early December 2019, the Tangerang District Court handed down an 11-year prison sentence to perpetrators of trafficking in persons against EH, who was employed in Syria and Iraq, two countries that have been plagued by prolonged conflict. The verdict must certainly be appreciated, however from the reading of the plot of the case it is seen that in addition to the trafficking syndicate, there was also the involvement of the Indonesian Representative. Migrant CARE believes that what happened to EH is also likely to be experienced by hundreds or even thousands of Indonesian women who are trapped in the lure of working to the Middle East with high wages.

Another challenge facing the implementation of the commitment to protect migrant workers is the Omnibus Law legislation plan on Labor. This legislation wants to simplify all labor-related laws in the umbrella of the Omnibus Labor Law / Employment Creation. If Law No. 18/2017 including the object of the liquidation of the Act to be united in the Omnibus of Manpower Law, the commitment to protect migrant workers in Law No. 18/2017 is only short-lived on paper without ever being carried out in the field.

Based on the foregoing, Migrant CARE in the Commemoration of World Migrant Workers’ Day demands the Indonesian Government to:

Immediately complete all derivative and institutional arrangements for the management of migrant worker protection in accordance with Law no. 18/2017,

Immediately compile a road map for the protection of Indonesian migrant workers oriented to public services, decentralized in character and with the perspective of justice and gender equality,

Reject the liquidation of Law No. 18/2017 into the Omnibus Law’s plan for Manpower.

Surabaya, December 17, 2019

Contact person:

Wahyu Susilo, Executive Director of Migrant CARE (0812 9307 964)
Anis Hidayah, Chair of the Migrant CARE Study and Study Center (0815 78722874)

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