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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs                      17  August 2011

SBY addresses migrant worker issues

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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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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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