Indonesia stops sending migrant workers to 21 middle eastern nations

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The government has decided to stop sending Indonesian migrant workers to 21 countries in the Middle East as part of a policy to protect workers of the informal sector who are mostly women.

Speaking at a conference here on Monday, Minister of Manpower Muhammad Hanif Dhakiri said that the execution of two Indonesian migrant workers, Siti Zaenab and Karni, in Saudi Arabia was one of the factors taken into consideration while making the policy decision.

"The situation concerning our migrant workers, who were working as domestic helpers, has led to many problems such as those related to labor norms and human rights violation," he noted.

The minister recognized that migrant workers in Middle Eastern countries had insufficient protection, especially when you take into account the local culture that further complicates the protection measures.

"According to the law, the government has the right to stop the placement of migrant workers in particular countries if it is believed that their employment will degrade human values and the dignity of the nation," Dhakiri stated.

The Indonesian government will no longer send migrant workers from the domestic sector to 21 countries in the Middle East. These are Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, Egypt, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Qatar, South Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen and Jordan.

Furthermore, the minister pointed out that they were forced to being into effect "the hard policy" in the Middle Eastern countries due to the presence of a culture where employers have stronger rights than labor agreements and regulations.

"This culture often leads to migrant workers becoming highly dependent on their employers. It also weakens their position, their working condition and lives," he explained.

Many of the workers cannot go home because their employers forbid them or transfer them to other employers.

In addition, indications of human trafficking between countries in the Middle East was also one of the reasons behind the implementation of this policy.