SEDIH SEKALI setiap kali aku baca nasib kaum perempuan Indonesia yg
bekerja di Negara2 Timur Tengah. Mereka adalah pejuang2 bagi keluarga
dan bangsanya. Mereka samasekali tidak mendapat perlindungan dari
Pemerintah RI (KBRI, KRI) di negara2 biadab tsb.

Kebudayaan setempat begitu jahat dan banyak orang2/majikan dan
keluarganya yg menganggap TKW itu sebagai budak yg bisa diapaian saja
sesuai dg tradisi mrk.

Mereka tidak peduli apakah TKW itu sama2 Islam. Memang di antara
sebagian besar orang2 Arab, Muslim dari suiu bangsa lain itu dianggap
hina, tidak afdol. Makanya aku sedih kalo ngeliat Muslim Indonesia yg
mati2an kepingin menjadi Arab dan meninggalkan budaya, peradaban
Nusantara yg jauh lebih mulia.

Gabriela Rantau

Maids 'treated as slaves' in Saudi Arabia
The Jakarta Post ,  Jakarta   |  Wed, 07/09/2008 10:48 AM  |  Headlines

Working conditions for migrant domestic workers in Saudi Arabia --
including thousands of Indonesian workers -- sometimes amount to
"slavery", according to a global human rights watchdog.

"In the best cases, migrant women in Saudi Arabia enjoy good working
conditions and kind employers, and in the worst they're treated like
virtual slaves. Most fall somewhere in between," said Nisha Varia,
senior researcher in the women's rights division of Human Rights Watch

But the rise of a "young, reformist elite" in Saudi Arabia offers
opportunities for change -- opportunities labor advocates and countries
that send migrant labor, such as Indonesia, should take advantage of,
according to HRW executive director Kenneth Roth.

He said the new generation did not want the country to be known as one
that "closes its eyes to the abuse of domestic workers".

Roth and Varia presented the findings of HRW's latest study in a
discussion Monday, hosted by the National Commission on Violence against

The study, "As if I am not human: Abuses against Asian domestic workers
in Saudi Arabia", involved interviews with Indonesian, Filipino,
Nepalese and Sri Lankan workers in the kingdom, conducted between 2006
and early 2008.

Indonesia has been sending migrant workers, mainly maids, to the Middle
East and other regions since the 1980s, and media reports of abuse have
repeatedly surfaced.

The Saudi embassy did not reply to requests Monday to respond to the

The study quotes from HRW's interview with Saudi labor minister Ghazi
al-Qusaibi, who said "radical reforms" were being planned to establish
better protection for migrant domestic workers.

But according to Varia, "the Saudi government has some good proposals
for reform but it has spent years considering them without taking any

Reform for the kingdom's 1.5 million domestic workers is needed "so that
women desperate to earn money for their families don't have to gamble
with their lives", Varia said.

One of HRW's recommendations is to reform or abolish the sponsorship
system known as kafala, which ties migrant workers' visas to their
employers. This system means employers can prevent workers from changing
jobs or leaving the country.

Reform is also needed in Saudi   Arabia's criminal justice system, HRW
said. The study found in many cases employers were not prosecuted for
abusing domestic workers.

HRW cited the example of abused Indonesian worker Nour Miyati, who lost
her case despite "the employer's confession, ample medical evidence, and
intense public scrutiny".

Nour Miyati had to have her fingers and toes amputated as a result of
being starved and beaten daily by her employers, HRW said.

The maids "are more likely to face counter-accusations of witchcraft,
theft or adultery", the study said.

But tight competition among labor suppliers is leading to cost cutting
at the expense of migrant workers, according to one Indonesian official.

"Some labor suppliers are complaining they don't make profits and have
had to cut expenses such as training," Jumhur Hidayat, head of the
National Labor Export and Protection Agency, said Monday.

Jumhur said some suppliers cut the mandatory 200 hours of training for
migrants scheduled to work in the Middle East "to one hour, or even 10

He said a number of measures, including ongoing negotiations with the
Saudi government, were being taken to address the problems.

Legislator Tuti Lukman remarked that while it was easy to blame the
problems on the countries that receive Indonesian labor, "they will note
that we also fail to give formal recognition and protection to our own
domestic workers".

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