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Domestic workers In Indonesia subject to beatings and rape JAKARTA - A new Amnesty International report alleges domestic workers in Indonesia face withheld wages, workdays of up to 22 hours, beatings, sexual violence and forced confinement. The report also says attempts by the government to address the problem are falling short, leaving millions of women vulnerable to abusive employers.

"Domestic workers in Indonesia - most of them women, many still girls - face exploitation, rape, even murder," said Larry Cox, executive director of Amnesty International USA (AIUSA).

Cox goes on to say, "To the outside world, Indonesia claims to abide by covenants protecting workers. Yet most domestic laborers are not recognized as workers by Indonesian law and judges, a legal hypocrisy that also enables Indonesia to ignore child labor laws. The Indonesian government must enforce domestic workers' rights."

The country has an estimated 2.6 million domestic laborers and according to social mores in Indonesia the workers are overwhelmingly deemed second-class citizens. Most women or girls who enter into this form of labor begin working at ages as young as 12 or 13.

However the discrimination doesn't end there. According to an Amnesty International report and press release the Indonesian government is even sanctioning some of the disparity between employer and employee by discriminating against domestic workers, excluding them from legal protection given to other workers governing fair pay and limitations on working hours.

What concerns the human rights group is the collusion between lawmakers and those who discriminate against the workers. The government submitted a draft law on domestic workers to parliament in June 2006, however many are worried because it omits fundamental workers' rights, including clearly defined daily hours of work, rest periods and a minimum wage.

Furthermore domestic violence laws are not being implemented fully and the Amnesty report says most people are unaware that it applies to domestic workers. "The sheer scale of the Indonesian domestic labor force makes this issue urgent," said Max White, AIUSA country specialist on Indonesia and Timor-Leste. "More people work as domestics in Indonesia than live in the city of Houston."

He continues by saying, "The recent Ministry of Manpower proposals must be strengthened - as they stand, they're as much window dressing as solution. And Indonesia should launch a countrywide information campaign describing protections available under the Domestic Violence Act. Indonesian leaders must walk their talk."

The report goes on to further outline several specific cases of abuse, namely to young girls who suffered violence, sexual harassment, impregnated by their employer or beaten to death.



Posted in Human rights @ 15 February 2007 01:56 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink





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(Edited) Posted @ 16 February 2007 15:14

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