Foreign ministry to cooperate with JWB on migrant workers protection

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesias Foreign Affairs Ministry has established cooperation with a non-profit organization, Justice Without Border (JWB), to provide legal assistance for Indonesian migrant workers.

"We have established a cooperation with JWB to help Indonesian migrant workers who have legal problems with their employers," the ministrys Director of Indonesian Citizens Protection and Legal Aid Lalu Muhamad Iqbal said here on Tuesday.

The agreement on the cooperation was signed on the commemoration of Migrant Workers Day on Dec 18 by the ministrys Director General for Protocol and Consular Affairs Andri Hadi and JWB Executive Director Douglas MacLean.

Iqbal stated that the cooperation would cover provision of pro bono lawyer to provide legal aid for Indonesian migrant workers who face legal problems, especially in Singapore and Hong Kong.

It would also improve the capacity of staff in Indonesian representative offices abroad to fight for migrant workers rights.

Under the cooperation, employment cases that involve Indonesian migrant workers could be handled by pro bono lawyers, while criminal case would be handled by other lawyers recruited by the Indonesian representative office.

Iqbal noted that the cooperation has become part of the ministrys strategy to provide cost-effective focus and protection for Indonesian migrant workers.

While for JWB, it has been its first cooperation with the government.

JWB Pro Bono Officer Sri Aryani remarked that the cooperation would open legal access for Indonesian migrant workers in Hong Kong and Singapore.

"We only work on employment dispute and civil compensation. Even after the workers have returned to Indonesia, we will fight for their rights," she explained.

Currently, the cooperation has only covered migrant workers in Singapore and Hong Kong, but JWB would expand it to other countries, including in the Middle East region.

"This is because the legal system in Singapore and Hong Kong is more stable, and they have more pro bono lawyers compared to other countries," she added.

The number of Indonesian workers is expected to reach 150 thousand in Hong Kong and some 70 thousand workers in Singapore.

During 2017, the ministry has recorded 135 workers cases in Hong Kong and 1,540 cases in Singapore.

Source: ANTARA News

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