This reality is saddening
Bekasi, W Java (ANTARA) - Human rights watchdog Migrant CARE said Indonesia needs to propose an investigation into alleged violations of Indonesian crew’s human rights on board Chinese fishing vessels, including the recent deaths of three Indonesians seafarers buried at sea.

"Migrant CARE is of the opinion that the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs' response to this case remains normative," Migrant CARE executive director Wahyu Susilo said in a press statement made available to ANTARA here on Thursday.

Susilo said the Indonesian Foreign Ministry's response had yet to touch the root of the problem. There was also no push for a probe into the alleged human rights violations, and a strong statement to ensure that all crew members' rights are upheld, he added.

Besides, the Workforce Ministry and the Agency for the Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers (BP2MI) had yet to respond to matters concerning the Indonesians seafarers, he continued.

According to Susilo, what the Indonesian crew experienced when working for Chinese fishing vessels Long Xin 605, Long Xin 629, and Tian Yu 8 bore evidence of human rights violations, because they were robbed of their basic rights to live.

The situation served as evidence of the real working conditions of Indonesian migrant workers, particularly those working in the maritime sector, he remarked.

In December, 2019 and March, 2020, three Indonesians working aboard Long Xin 629 and Long Xin 604 died while the fishing boats were sailing in the Pacific Ocean.

Indonesian migrant workers in the maritime and fisheries sectors remain vulnerable to modern slavery practices. The Global Slavery Index, issued by Walk Free (2014-2016), an initiative Migrant CARE was part of, also reveals this fact, said Susilo.

According to the Global Slavery Index (2014-2016), several hundred thousand Indonesian crew working on board fishing vessels are trapped in modern slavery. If such practices can still be found until this present time, the situation has remained unchanged, according to Migrant CARE.

"This reality is saddening," Susilo said.

In 2015, the Indonesian Government had launched an investigation into an alleged slavery case by Thai firm PT Pusaka Benjina Resource (PBR), based in Aru Island, Maluku Province.

However, the government's move was yet to touch the fate of Indonesian seafarers working on foreign fishing vessels, Susilo pointed out.

Prior to the deaths of the Indonesian seafarers working on Chinese fishing vessels, many Indonesians employed on cruise ships had contracted the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and lost their jobs, he noted.

The BP2MI recorded that more than 6,000 Indonesian crew members were laid off, Susilo added. (INE)

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Translator: Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
Copyright © ANTARA 2020