最新動態

聯署:不要另一個Kartika!

photo 3-s.jpg外籍家務工要尊嚴 家居關係要和諧 共建共融香港

如果我們不希望再出現另一個Kartika的話,我們便要作改變。如果我們真的重視家務工為人的尊嚴,我們便要作改革。我們要提倡和諧的家居關係,要傳揚共融社會的訊息。

 

Kartika,和我們一樣,一名為了愛人爭取最好的生活的女性。然而她的夢想卻迫使她離鄉工作,而這夢想卻變成連夜惡夢──遭到非人待遇、各式苛待與冒犯,甚至是奴役。

 

她的遭遇也許是極端且不平常的個案。但是她的遭遇也反映了香港家務工的工作環境竟能容許此等慘案發生。

 

這是一個香港社會必須正視的問題。

 

在我們這些服務機構的檔案庫裡,滿是各式虐待、苛待、強姦及侵犯移民工權利的案例。這些案例的成因往往指向現行政策的不足,造成一個讓外籍家務工特別容易受害的環境,又鼓勵冷漠且不健康的家居關係,及縱容排外意識。

 

首要的改變是改善強制同住的規定。另外就是兩星期條例。此外,入境處最近公佈,處方如懷疑申請人利用終止僱傭合約制度轉工,將拒絕發出簽證。

 

設計這些專門為管制外傭的規條, 將令有關的家庭也無法享有一個互相理解、坦誠溝通,的工作和生活環境。

 

再者,這些政策立法及推行之前,均欠缺具體埋據,亦沒有迫切性,其立法原因甚至是不合邏輯。立法前亦沒有經過充份的諮詢,不論是良心僱主、相關服務機構,和最重要的外籍家務工,都沒有被諮詢。

 

強制同住政策困住外籍家務工,迫使她們接受廿四小時隨時候命工作,即使僱主希望提供私人空間予外籍家務工,亦沒有其他選擇,只可居於同一狹窄住所。與此同時,因為在合約終止後, 只能在香港停留14天的限制,迫使外籍家務工忍受各式苛待與冒犯,只為了保住工作。有著現行政策的種種限制,政府怎麼會認為外籍家務工們會為了轉工而故意「斷約」呢?

 

拒絕向懷疑「轉工者」發出簽證會進一步限制外籍家務工,並迫使她們忍受苛刻和不人道的居住與工作環境。

 

上述限制性及懲罰性的政策不但無法預防現存的問題,而且也沒有向公眾宣揚正確的價值觀。

 

我們呼籲香港政府和立法者應立即改革有關政策,防止有另一個Kartika再出現在我們當中。

 

有關改革應從維護家務工的尊嚴的框架出發,而國際社會對於如何訂定標準維護作為人、工人、移民、女性的權益也曾提出一系列的原則,譬如國際勞工組織的《家政工人體面勞動公約》(公約C189)。

 

政府應從推廣家居內和睦、健康關係的立場出發,並必須訂定可改善工作及居住環境的條款,以保障所有持分者的人權。

 

這些改革必須要建立於共融、包容的立場,不再歧視、認識到社會不同界別對於香港的貢獻、並且保護那些容易被侵犯人權的人,香港才能成為一個更好的社會。

 

我們建議香港政府及相關機構:

  1. 應本地人權組織及聯合國消除對婦女歧視委員會建議,馬上檢討新逗留條件或兩星期限制,改革或廢除歧視性或有利苛待和剝削情況發生的條款。

 

  1. 廢除強制同住僱傭安排,讓外籍家務工及其僱主可共同協商、決定居住安排,可以恢復僱主和外籍家務工自行簽定居住安排協議的做法。另外,入境處應與所有持分者檢討並定義「合理住宿安排」的詳細條款。

 

  1. 撤銷新行的隨意及單純根據申請者無法完成兩年合約的記錄而拒發簽證的政策。這不但沒有考慮每次終止合約的個別情況,更是欠正當程序懲罰外籍家務工和其僱主。

 

  1. 在道義、經濟及政策上支持推廣互相理解及和諧香港的倡議者,包容並接納所有的少數族裔,共創共融社會。

 

  1. 創造一個讓關心少數族裔事務的社區組織能有效參與制訂、推行和監察政策的環境。

 

 

Apologies for cross-posting

 

Dear Friends,

 

Greetings of peace!

 

On September 18, the court will rule on the case of Kartika, an Indonesian domestic worker who was allegedly left tied to a chair by her employer for a week during which the employer’s family went on vacation. The said horrible act was just a part of alleged abuses committed against Kartika.

 

Kartika’s case will be yet again another concrete face of the condition of foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong.

 

Thus, on September 17, the Coalition of Service Providers for Ethnic Minorities – a loose group of major NGO service providers for migrants in Hong Kong – will conduct a press conference calling for justice for Kartika as well as immediate reforms in policies that make FDWs vulnerable to such type of abuse.

 

We believe that current policies such as the mandatory live-in employment arrangement, the New Conditions of Stay or Two-Week Rule and the recent rule of the Immigration Department of denying visas to those suspected to be engaged in “job-hopping” are major factors that lead to severe violations of the rights of FDWs as well as to an unhealthy and unharmonious relationship between FDWs and employers. They also reinforce the exclusion of FDWs from the HK general society.

 

We would like to ask for your endorsement of the statement we will issue on September 17 (see text below).

 

You can send your endorsement by replying to this e-mail or you can contact us at +852-25228264.

 

Also, we urge you to spread this statement and request for endorsement to your partners and networks as well.

 

Thank you very much and we hope you will support us in our call.

 

Sincerely yours,

 

 

Cynthia Abdon-Tellez

General Manager

Mission for Migrant Workers (MFMW Limited)

Member of the Coalition of Service Providers for Ethnic Minorities

 

=============================

 

No to another Kartika!

A call for reforms to uphold the dignity of foreign domestic workers, to promote harmonious relationships in households, and to encourage social inclusion in Hong Kong

 

Changes have to come if we are to prevent another Kartika. Reforms have to be made if we shall truly uphold the dignity of domestic workers as human beings, promote a harmonious relationship inside households, and spread the positive message of social inclusion.

 

Kartika, like many of us, is a woman who only wants what is best for her loved ones. But the dreams she had that pushed her to work overseas and make sacrifices have instead turned into a nightmare of inhumane treatment, abuses and slavery.

 

What she suffered from may be extreme and extraordinary. But the fact that it can happen shows that the condition of domestic work in Hong Kong is ripe for such kind of horrors to occur.

 

Ultimately, this is the question that Hong Kong society must address.

 

The archives of service providers are full of cases of abuses, maltreatment, rape and other migrants’ rights violations. On all of these cases, the most common contributing factors for their occurrence are the policies in place that create the condition for the victimization of foreign domestic workers, promote an uncaring and unhealthy environment inside households, and inculcate a consciousness of exclusion.

 

Foremost of these policies are the mandatory live-in employment arrangement and the New Conditions of Stay or Two-Week Rule. Recently, the Immigration Department has also announced their new process of denying visas for those they deem are using the system of employment termination to allegedly “job-hop”.

 

While these regulations are primarily directed towards FDWs, households also get deprived of a living and working relationship that enables mutual understanding, open communications and, in the end, will be mutually beneficial.

 

Furthermore, these policies are made without compelling and concrete bases, are illogical when measured against the professed reasons given for their enactment and implementation, and are arbitrarily made without prior and sufficient consultations with all stakeholders that also include well-meaning employers, service providers for ethnic minorities and most especially, the foreign domestic workers themselves.

 

The mandatory live-in arrangement ties up FDWs to a 24-hour on call work and also puts employers without much choice in the arrangement inside the household even if they want to give decent and private sleeping quarters to their FDW. Meanwhile, the prospect of staying only for 14 days if the contract is terminated oftentimes forces FDWs to endure abuses just so they can hold on to a job. With such restrictive policies in place, how can the government even think that FDWs will still “job-hop”?

 

The denial of visa for suspected “job-hoppers” would further restrict the condition of FDWs and further force them to stay inside abusive and inhumane living and working conditions.

 

The policies above are restrictive and punitive. But they are not preventive of the real excesses that happen on the ground nor do they adhere to positive ideals and values that should be promoted to the public.

 

We call on to the Hong Kong authorities and policymakers to make the needed and urgent reforms that will mitigate the possibility of another Kartika in our midst.

 

These reforms must be on the framework of upholding the dignity of domestic workers. There are hosts of principles expressed in various instruments that the international community has fixed as standards of human, workers, migrants and women’s rights including the most recent Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers (Convention No. 189) of the International labour Organization (ILO).

 

These changes must be made with the intent of promoting a harmonious and healthy relationship inside households. Conditions must be set to develop a working or living environment that enhances potentials and celebrates the humanity of all parties.

 

These reforms must be inclusive and recognizing of the fact that Hong Kong can only be a better community if it does not discriminate, appreciative of the contributions of all sectors of the society, and protective of those who are most at risk to human rights violations.

 

Concretely, we recommend for the Hong Kong government and relevant bodies to:

 

  1. Immediately review the New Conditions of Stay or Two-Week Rule as recommended by local human rights organizations in Hong Kong and even by the Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women of the United Nations. Reform or repeal clauses that are discriminatory and promote conditions for abuses and exploitation.

 

  1. Repeal the mandatory live-in employment arrangement and instead leave the living arrangements on the mutual decision of FDWs and their employer. The former practice of a letter of agreement between employers and FDWs can be revived. Additionally, the Immigration Department should work with all stakeholders to better define with “reasonable accommodation” entails.

 

  1. Rescind the new policy of denying visa to applicants based solely and arbitrarily on records of incompletion of employment of the two-year contract. This does not take into account the particular conditions that result to termination of contracts and unjustly penalizes both FDWs and employers without due process.

 

  1. Provide further moral, financial and structural support to initiatives that promote understanding and harmony in Hong Kong, and the inclusion of all ethnic minorities in all aspects of the Hong Kong society.

 

  1. Create a more enabling environment for the effective participation of community organizations concerned with ethnic minority affairs on policy making, implementation and monitoring.

 

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