Indonesian worker dies in Syria

Sukabumi, West Java (ANTARA News) - An Indonesian domestic worker from Sukabumi district, West Java province, died in Syria earlier this week, a labor activist said here Friday.

Chairperson of Indonesian Migrant Workers Association (SBMI) Jejen Nurjanah said the death of Siti Romalah, resident of Cikembar subdistrict, Sukabumi district, was reportedly caused by "sickness".

Despite the unclear causes of her ailment, her body was not yet able to be transported home, she said.

"We are still waiting for the Indonesian ministry for workforce and transmigration`s verification," she said adding the sort of Siti Romalah`s sickness remained unknown.

A female migrant worker from Sukabumi, identified as Masrikah, had also died in the Middle East recently.

She was reportedly killed by her employer in Saudi Arabia. Her murder had triggered a strong protest from Sukabumi district`s government, she said.

The deaths of Indonesian workers in the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia, have become a routine story.

An Indonesian migrant worker in Saudi Arabia, identified as Saiyem, for instance, was killed in a traffic accident on December 24, 2010 but her death was publicly revealed on January 6, 2011.

Before the death of this domestic helper, Istiqomah, a migrant worker from Salamrejo village, Karangan subdistrict, Trenggalek district, was also killed in a traffic accident in Taipei, he said.

Indonesia relatively has a big number of migrant workers in the Middle Eastern region.

Saudi Arabia alone currently employs 927,500 Indonesian migrant workers, making it the second biggest user of migrant workers next to Malaysia.

In connection with the presence of Indonesian migrant workers, their protection remains a crucial and sensitive issue over the past years.

In November 2010, the Indonesian people and government were shocked by the torture of Sumiati binti Salan Mustafa by her Saudi Arabian employer.