In Malaysia and several other places, the condition of migrant workers has indeed been concerning in the last two years due to COVID-19
Jakarta (ANTARA) - The COVID-19 pandemic has rendered Indonesian migrant workers vulnerable to virus transmission, according to the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM).

There are two reasons for this: first, migrant workers are far from all state protection devices, stipulated by the Constitution, for preventing virus transmission and surmounting other negative impacts; second, the countries where they are employed prioritize the protection of their own people and the migrants' well-being is low down on their priority list, Mohammad Choirul Anam, commissioner for monitoring and investigation at the commission said.

He made the remarks during an online public lecture on law and human rights, 'Protection and Enforcement of Human Rights in Indonesia', which was broadcast live on the official YouTube channel of the Brawijaya University's Faculty of Law (FHUB) on Monday.

"In Malaysia and several other places, the condition of migrant workers has indeed been concerning in the last two years due to COVID-19," Anam said.

From 2020 to March 2021, he added, 36 cases of migrant worker complaints were handled by his division with the most troubling issue was their return to the country.

The migrant workers could not leave their homes during the pandemic, Anam said.

They also faced discrimination in terms of access to health services to recover from COVID-19 because they were not considered a priority in other countries, he said. On top of that, they did not get the vaccine, he added.

Anam said that this has become a concern because the pandemic has weakened the protection of migrant workers.

The treatment migrant workers arriving in Indonesia—especially those who enter the country through the border areas—receive is different from the general public, he observed.

"Don't imagine that migrant workers are like tourists from abroad who return home, are told to isolate, are provided with facilities, and so on, so forth," he said.

Migrant workers do not get proper services upon arrival in the country, given the limited facilities and services and the large number of workers, he explained.

Thus, he said the protection of migrant workers has become a special concern for the commission.

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Translator: Tri Meilani A, Mecca Yumna
Editor: Sri Haryati
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