ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
SBY addresses migrant worker issues
Justice and the protection of the law are for all Indonesians, including migrant workers, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said on Tuesday during the State Speech coinciding with Independence Day,
"We have to admit that upholding the law is still a big challenge,” Yudhoyono said. “A number of legal cases have gained public attention, including the execution of an Indonesian citizen in Saudi Arabia. That hurt us.”
In June, the government halted the sending of domestic workers to Saudi Arabia in response to the execution of Ruyati binti Sapubi, 54, an Indonesian maid who claimed she had killed her employer in self defense. Another maid was later saved from a similar fate in Saudi Arabia when the government paid blood money to the victim's family.
Yudhoyono said that the government would accelerate economic development to provide alternatives so that workers do not have to leave Indonesia to seek a livelihood.
“We hope there will be more employment locally, so that our sisters do not have to work in the informal sector or as maids abroad,” he said. “This is about our dignity and pride as a nation.”
In the meantime, Yudhoyono said that he and the government would seek clemency for Indonesian workers facing the death penalty abroad.
“The mission is not easy, because all nations have their own legal systems, but our efforts have started to gain results. Some Indonesian workers that might face death have received clemency,” he said.
In July, the task force for migrant worker protection formed by Yudhoyono in the aftermath of the Ruyati beheading said that 228 Indonesian migrant workers are on death row in various countries.
In the future, Yudhoyono said that the government would also more strictly supervise migrant worker placement agencies to guarantee worker safety.
“We need to ensure that our brothers working abroad understand the law, regulations and culture in the countries where they live and work,” he said, emphasizing the role of government to work with recipient countries to clarify the rights of Indonesian workers.
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