Institute for National and Democratic Studies

Indonesian MW employed in Iraq’s US Military Camp

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At least, 72 Indonesian Migrant Workers (IMW) illegally employed in US military camp in Iraq. Government didn’t have information on their condition.

(Jakarta, Oct 2007)—Department of Foreign Affairs tries to have consular access to 72 Indonesian Migrant Workers (IMW) that been employed by US military authorities in Camp Victoria, Baghdad, Iraq. The Indonesian government also try to call US embassy in Jakarta, Cameron R. Hume to clarify the condition of 72 IMW that reported been hold by US military in Iraq.

Spokesperson of the Department of Foreign Affairs, J. Kristiarto Soerjolegowo, in Jakarta (10/9), explained that, “They (US gov’t) had promised to cooperate with the US embassy in Baghdad and representative of the secretary of states in Washington.”

According to Soerjolegowo, Indonesia will not only depend on the US Government, the Indonesian embassy in Amman, Jordan, also had made contact with Iraq embassy in Amman. “We want to make sure the concrete situation that faced by them, therefore sooner is better,” said Soerjolegowo.

Soerjolegowo also mentioned that the 72 IMW that employed in Camp Victoria work as technician, helper, and cook. Their monthly payment reaches US$3000 (almost Rp 27 million). They had been work in Iraq for 17 month since January 2006 and ended in July 2007. Regarding that situation, government tried to use consular access to have information of their condition. There’re no guarantee that they in a save condition. Government also tries to secure their right and will invite the 72 IMW to discuss the future work plan according to their interest.

As additional information, Department of Foreign Affairs get the information on IMW in US military camp from Steven Lathu, the formers IMW who also work in US military camp in Iraq. According to Lathu, first there’re 86 IMW, but 14 IMW had comeback to Indonesia. They were sent by PT North Java Sea Group, a labor supply services company (PJTKI) that based in Cilandak Dalam, South Jakarta.
Growing tension in Iraq-Turkey’s Border endanger five IMW

Five IMW—all of them are women—reported trapped in the mid of Iraq-Turkey’s border. They’re Elly Anita binti Susilo Husein, Darniati binti Jaba Saleh, Siti Julaiha binti Sugiman, Kasinah binti Dulkasan, and Taseng binti Tamih.

One of them—Elli Anita binti Susilo Husein—reported been captured. Increasing military tension between Turkey military with the Kurdist armed resistance had put the five IMW in a dangerous position.

All of them worked as domestic helper in the special autonomy zone that belongs to the Kurd. Just like other cases that reported above, the Indonesian government was also didn’t have enough information on their condition.

“We still try to contact and asking their condition to determine the sufficient effort that must do to help them,” said Soerjolegowo. “We also try to monitor the condition and so much hope to the both side to consider the regional stabilization”.
Nine agencies been blacklisted

Aside of 72 IMW’s case that been employed in US military camp, there also another case of IMW that been trapped in conflict zone in Iraq. One of those cases is the case of Elly Anita binti Susilo Husein.

Elly Anita binti Susilo Husein was one of IMW that was reported been captured in Mosul, Iraq. Elly is IMW from Dusun Tirtosari RT 03/RW 03, Andongsari village, sub-district Ambulu, Jember, East Java. There almost no information regarding her condition. Recently, government said that Elly Anita’s passport was still held by her agency.

According to Soerjolegowo, Elly Anita was no longer been captured. But, it stills temporary information. Now, she’s save with her friend. “We’ve called her by phone and accepted by her friends. He/she (?) said, Elly had already called her agency”, said Soerjolegowo. To make sure the information, government still tries to verify her condition just to make sure the safety of her condition.

The Elly Anita’s case dragged nine labor supply agency into blacklist. Those agencies were suspected had trafficked IMW to the military conflict zone in Iraq by Jordan, Bahrain, and Syria. One amongst those agencies is Nashwan Labour Agency that hold Elly Anita’s passport and sent Elly Anita to Iraq.

According to the Chairman of Association of Indonesian Labor Supply Agencies (Himpunan Pengusaha Jasa Penempatan Tenaga Kerja Indonesia or Himsataki), Yunus Yamani, Nashwan Labour Agency had illegally sent almost 75 IMW to Iraq. Yamani admitted, even the nine agencies was already been blacklisted, but they still can operate in Jakarta to recruit the applicant in Java.

He also mentioned that at least 17 person had been trafficked to Iraq by Syria. They usually sent IMW to countries that apply the visa on arrival like Syria before they trafficked to Iraq. The IMW that been trafficked to Iraq were usually backed by “double documents”.

This mean, the IMW usually asked to make a report to police that they passport was lost, and by using the police official statement, they can make their new passport from the Indonesian embassy in Syria, Jordan, or Bahrain. Their previous passport—the IMW’s special passport—were saved by their agencies. And the IMW entered Iraq by using the ordinary international passport.

According to the Indonesian laws, these actions are defined as illegal action. Therefore, Himsataki accused those nine agencies that been blacklisted involve in human trafficking syndicate and demand the law enforcement on them.

It’s Illegal and Exposes the Weaknesses of Law no. 39/2004!

Sending IMW to the military conflict zone like Iraq should be considered as illegal action. But even there’re already some cases, the IMW placement in military conflict zone—especially Iraq—was still happen. Some agencies, exploit the weakness of the law of Placement and Protection of the Indonesian Migrant Workers (Law Number 39/2004) to legitimize their illegal action.

The considerations that ruled the placement of IMW in hazardous areas are article 27 and article 30 in Law no. 39/2007. Article 27 “(1) The placement of IMW abroad can be conducted only to the destination countries whose governments have made written agreements with the Government of the Republic of Indonesia—ministry of labor and transmigration—or to the destination countries that have legislation that protects foreign workers. (2) Based on the considerations as referred to in paragraph (1) and based on security considerations the Government shall determine certain countries are closed for IMW placement with a Ministerial Regulation.

Article 30 “Every person shall not place candidate-IMW/IMW to positions and workplaces that are against the human values and social norms, as well as the legislation, either in Indonesia or in the destination countries or in destination countries stated closed as referred to in Article 27.”

The law no. 39/2004 are not clearly defined the concrete and specific condition that can be considered and determined as the “destination countries stated closed as referred to in Article 27”. According to the law, this must be defined by the decree of Ministry of Labor and Transmigration but the people were not clearly informed about that kind of decree. Or even the decree are exist, corruption and the lackness of government initiatives to socialize that decree create a wide opportunities for the bad-agencies to conduct such illegal action like sending IMW to the hazardous country like Iraq.

Therefore, the Law no. 39/2004 is no longer capable to accommodate the “growth of problems” of Indonesian Migrant Workers.

Jakarta , October 30, 2007

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Written by INDIES

March 20, 2008 at 4:00 am

Posted in Iraq Wars, Migran

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