Statement by the Indonesain Delegation At the 15th Session of the Human Rights Council

September 14, 2010 Human Rights and Humanitarian Issues


Mr. President,

On behalf of my delegation, I would like to thank the Special Rapporteur for the informative report on contemporary slavery.

As a country which sees many of its nationals working in domestic service overseas, Indonesia welcomes the much-needed attention being paid to this important issue and urges all Member States to pay close attention to the report’s findings and recommendations.

In this era of globalization, the international movement of people, either legally or illicitly, has become easier and more fluid than ever before. The opportunity to work overseas remains a tempting opportunity for those with low incomes and few alternatives.

As the report highlights, thousands of migrant domestic workers, in desperate search of an income, are still finding themselves in a position of domestic servitude, deprived of their basic human rights, their freedom and their dignity.  The same can also be said for the men women and children working in their home countries in often low-paid, back-breaking and dangerous jobs.

In short, slavery has not been eradicated. It has merely changed its form and it is the responsibility of us all to ensure the safety and welfare of our workers.

Mr. President,

The issue of domestic workers is one very close to the heart of the Indonesian Government. The hardships and injustices facing both in-country domestic workers and those employed overseas are real and widespread.  We recognize that more progress needs to be made both by us and also by the countries in which our citizens are employed.

Under the Indonesian Constitution, every citizen has the right to work and to earn a livelihood in a humane manner. Despite significant limitations in budget and resources, the greatest efforts are being made to ensure this right is fulfilled.

While efforts on legislations, policies and programs are being made, one of the challenges being confronted is to change social attitudes towards domestic workers and create more public awareness about rights-based approach in looking at this issue. We believe education for all can be the key for change.

Special attentions and endeavors are being made to deal with child labour. As a State Party to the ILO convention 182, Indonesia has made some progresses in eliminating of the worst forms of child labour, including those who work as domestic helpers. The relevant National Action Plan has been adopted, involving measures from mapping and statistics to law enforcement.

Finally, we support the Special Rapporteur’s recommendation that Member States have an obligation to criminalize all forms of slavery and servitude and ensure the labour rights of domestic workers are protected.  Indeed, the Indonesian Government recognizes that existing national legislation on this issue needs to be reviewed and we will continue to keep the issue of domestic worker protection high on our agenda.

May I thank Ms. Shahinian again for her report and her commitment to exposing the hardships of so many vulnerable people across the world. I look forward to hearing the views of Member States on this issue.

Thank you.

Geneva, 14th September 2010