London, UK (ANTARA News) - Amnesty International has urged the Indonesian Parliament to speed ratification of the Domestic Workers Law prior to their session ending in September 2014.

Amnesty International official for Indonesia and Timor Leste Secretariat, Josef Roy Benedict, told Antara in London, on Friday, that domestic workers have been exploited and need immediate legal protection.

"Millions of domestic workers in Indonesia are at risk of being exploited, both economically and physically, while living without protection," Benedict said.

Therefore, besides urging the Indonesian Parliamentary to ratify the domestic workers law, Amnesty International also hoped its articles would be consistent with international standards.

In particular, the international standards for domestic workers law included regulated work hours, adequate wages and living cost guarantees, leave periods, and legal conditions for women's needs.

"There should be a decisive legal policy to respond to employers who violate their employees," Benedict stressed.

According to Indonesian Amnesty Internationals Researcher, Papang Hidayat, domestic workers are second class citizens in Indonesia, and despite its huge numbers, most workers are women who risk exploitation and do not have legal assistance.

"It is very embarrassing that the parliament has been slow to ratify the domestic workers law, while its draft bill has been on their agenda since 2010," Papang said.

Some dramatic cases have involved Indonesian domestic workers during the last few years, one of which is the case of Siti Nur Amalah, who had made headlines in December 2013.

News reports detailed how Siti Nur Amalah worked as a domestic worker in Jakarta. Her employer molested her, as well as starved her for four months in 2012, causing various trauma, including making her blind, according to reports.

Meanwhile, the UN International Labor Organization (ILO) reported that some 2.6 millions people worked in the domestic sector in 2004, and that number has increased each year.

Since July 2011, Indonesia has not ratified ILO convention Number 189, dealing with proper work for domestic workers, even though President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had been committed to supporting it when this convention was proposed.

Amnesty International officials said it stood with Indonesian National Network for Domestic Workers Advocacy (Jala-PRT) in urging all involved to ratify the domestic worker protection law immediately, they also highlighted the commemoration of National Domestic Workers Day on February 15.


Editor: Jafar M Sidik
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