Protecting the health rights of Indonesian migrant workers against gender based violence and HIV and AIDS vulnerabilities

Although the Government of Indonesia has issued a number of regulations concerning migrant workers and gender mainstreaming, significant challenges still hamper the development of effective policy and regulations for the protection of migrant workers against gender based violence and HIV and AIDS. Indonesian women migrant workers, a majority of whom work as domestic workers, are particularly vulnerable to gender based violence and to HIV and AIDS throughout the entire course of the migratory cycle.

Press release | Jakarta, Indonesia | 27 March 2012

JAKARTA (ILO News): Although the Government of Indonesia has issued a number of regulations concerning migrant workers and gender mainstreaming, significant challenges still hamper the development of effective policy and regulations for the protection of migrant workers against gender based violence and HIV and AIDS. Indonesian women migrant workers, a majority of whom work as domestic workers, are particularly vulnerable to gender based violence and to HIV and AIDS throughout the entire course of the migratory cycle.

Gender based violence stands out as one of the main violations faced by women migrant workers and poses a direct risk to them of HIV infection. The Association of Hospital and Medical Centre for Indonesian Manpower (HIPTEK) has reported 174 HIV cases among 162,000 prospective migrant workers tested at ten health centres in 2010. A report from Caring for Migrant Workers, an NGO dealing with the health issues of deported migrant workers from Malaysia, revealed that during 2010 they had taken care of more than 50 AIDS cases of deported Indonesian migrant workers.

As an effort to provide better protection to Indonesian migrant domestic workers, the International Labour Organization (ILO), in collaboration with SmartFM Network, a leading radio station in Jakarta, will organize the third and final forum on migrant workers, “Protecting the Rights of Health of Indonesian Migrant Workers through the Revision of Law No. 39 of 2004”, on Tuesday, 27 March 2012, in the Upper Room, Annex Building, Wisma Nusantara Complex, Jakarta.

“Migration and mobility by themselves do not inevitably lead to increased susceptibility among migrant workers. However, the conditions under which they migrate, notably gender based violence, discrimination, exploitation and abuse to which they are exposed, render them more vulnerable to contracting HIV,” said Peter van Rooij, Director of ILO in Indonesia, adding that a comprehensive approach to Indonesian migrant workers’ protection is needed to improve the access to information and health services for migrant workers.

The Forum is aimed to provide an opportunity to strengthen collaboration to better protect migrant workers from gender based violence and HIV vulnerabilities. The workshop also aims to review the existing regulations and programmes for migrant workers, in order to generate better policy recommendations for strengthening the protection of migrant workers and their families.

The Forum will be divided into two sessions. The first session will highlight the importance of protecting the rights of health of migrant workers, covering HIV and AIDS related issues on labour migration. The second session will examine debates on the revisions of the Law No. 39 of 2004, urging the need for the Indonesian Government to provide effective protection measures for migrant workers against gender based violence and HIV and AIDS vulnerabilities throughout the migration process.

The Forum is part of the series of migrant workers forums that are held on a Tuesday for three weeks in March 2012. The first and second forums were conducted on 13 March and 20 March on policy development on migrant workers and the economic empowerment of migrant workers, respectively. The Forums are aimed to raise the awareness of both public and targeted policy makers to comprehensively protect migrant workers through a national strategy of advocacy.

The Forums are conducted by the ILO through its Combating Forced Labour and Trafficking of Indonesian Migrant Workers Project. Funded by the Government of Norway, the Project aims to strengthen the protection of migrant workers against trafficking and forced labour practices as well as empower them financially to provide financial alternatives to hazardous overseas labour conditions and migration practices.

The Forum will be attended by around 75 representatives from Government, trade unions, employers’ organizations, academia, civil society and mass media.

For further information please contact:

Albert Y. Bonasahat
The ILO’s Programme Coordinator on Migrant Workers
Tel.: +6221 3913112 ext. 125
Email

Gita Lingga
Media Officer
Tel.: +6221 3913112 ext. 115
Email