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Open letter to the State Minister for Women’s Empowerment

聯署致印尼State Minister for Women’s Empowerment的信件,要求當局將家暴法的保障範圍擴展至適用於國內的家庭傭工。發起團體為Amnesty International

State Minister for Women’s Empowerment
Sri Meutia Hatta
Jl. Medan Merdeka Barat No.15
Jakarta Pusat
10110
Indonesia

Dear Minister,

We, the undersigned organizations, are writing to you to express our concerns about the situation of women and girl domestic workers in Indonesia, and their extreme vulnerability to violence and abuse.

The passing of the Law Regarding the Elimination of Violence in the Household (Law 23/2004) was a very positive step forwards in the global drive to Stop Violence Against Women. However, the Law has yet to be fully implemented, especially with regards to violence against domestic workers. Domestic workers are frequently subjected to physical, verbal and psychological violence, sexual abuse, harassment and rape. In the severest cases, domestic workers have been killed by their employers.

Domestic workers are particularly vulnerable to violence due to their low socio-economic status within the household and within the community, their isolation from friends and family, and due to a lack of support and monitoring mechanisms available to them. Their work is unregulated and unprotected.

Levels of reporting of incidences of violence against domestic workers are very low. This is due to many domestic workers being unaware of their rights, fear of losing their job if they report abuses by their employer, and in some cases severe restrictions to their freedom of movement. These factors, combined with a fear of the police, hinder them in seeking support and registering complaints.

Many members of the judiciary reportedly continue to refer to the Criminal Code instead of the Domestic Violence Law in cases of violence against women. The Criminal Code lacks vital mechanisms to provide protection and support to victims of violence against women.

Domestic workers are a particularly vulnerable group in Indonesia, and as such require high levels of monitoring, support and protection from the state and associated institutions.

We urge the Indonesian government to conduct a thorough awareness-raising campaign throughout Indonesia, highlighting the fact that the Domestic Violence Law also applies to domestic workers, and that any incidents of violence against domestic workers must be immediately reported. This campaign should target employers, domestic workers, and the public.

As part of this awareness raising campaign, we urge you to conduct further training of police and legal practitioners, to ensure that all are fully briefed about the content and applicability of the law. AI acknowledges the establishment of gender-sensitive desks staffed exclusively by female police officers in more than 200 police stations across the country, and encourages the creation of more of such posts in police stations in Indonesia.

We further urge you to take measures to ensure that domestic workers who are the victims of violence are treated fairly within the criminal justice system, including being provided with the right to legal counsel at all stages of the proceedings.

We also urge your government to immediately establish effective mechanisms to monitor the situation and safety of domestic workers, given their vulnerability to violence. This should be done at the community level, for example via the neighbourhood cooperative areas – the Rukun Warga and Rukun Tentangga.

With regards to the draft domestic worker legislation drafted by the Ministry of Manpower in June 2006, we urge you to include sufficient provisions for the establishment of mechanisms to monitor the situation of domestic workers, to reduce the risk of them becoming victims of violence, and to provide the necessary support and protections if they do experience violence. These provisions should include the creation of necessary facilities to provide for the specific needs of domestic workers who have become the victims of violence, including safe-houses.

In the context of Indonesia’s repeated commitment to ‘zero tolerance for violence against women’, we urge the Indonesian government to assertively take all necessary steps to protect domestic workers in Indonesia as a group highly vulnerable to violence against women.

Many thanks for your attention,

Yours sincerely,

The Association for the Advancement of Feminism

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