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Cablegate: G/Tip -- Urgent Need to Reform Indonesian Labor

VZCZCXRO3545
OO RUEHDT RUEHPB
DE RUEHJA #2033 3451050
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 111050Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4114
INFO RUCNARF/ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM COLLECTIVE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

UNCLAS JAKARTA 002033

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR EAP, EAP/MTS, EAP/MLS, EAP/RSP, G/TIP
DRL FOR CARLSON, DOL FOR ILAB/FARMER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PREF ID
SUBJECT: G/TIP -- URGENT NEED TO REFORM INDONESIAN LABOR
LAWS TO FURTHER PROTECT MIGRANTS

1. This is an Action Request -- Please see Para 6.

2. SUMMARY: The Indonesian Working Group on Labor Migration
(IWGLM) is seeking International Organization for Migration
(IOM) assistance in reforming Indonesian Labor Law 34 on the
Placement and Protection of Indonesian Overseas Workers. The
GOI realizes that it urgently needs to take steps to bolster
its protection of migrant labor. The project proposed below
provides the USG with a unique opportunity to strengthen the
GOI's protection of trafficking victims. Mission urges
Washington to signal support of this program to the IOM and
we will provide details of the funding request when
available. END SUMMARY.

REQUEST FOR ASSISTANCE

3. (U) The GOI is newly focused on the protection of its
migrant labor force. (Note: IOM estimates that in 2008 more
than 700,000 Indonesian labor migrants left Indonesia to work
abroad.) IOM officials told Poloff that the IWGLM is
specifically seeking assistance in reforming Indonesian Labor
Law number 39 on the placement and protection of Indonesian
overseas workers. The Working Group is made up of
representatives from eight ministries and meets regularly.

4. (U) A recently completed USG project helped spark the
Indonesian government's growing interest in protection. This
project, an IOM-organized, PRM-funded program on promoting
dialogue and information sharing on labor migration between
Indonesia and Malaysia, Singapore and the Middle East
(Bahrain, and Kuwait), was reportedly an eye-opening
experience for the Indonesians that participated. Thanks in
part to this forum, the GOI Working Group is energized to
take concrete steps to better protect Indonesian workers
abroad.

PROTECTION FOR MIGRANT WORKERS INADEQUATE

5. (U) During the Working Group's study trips (August 31 -
September 4 Singapore and Malaysia; October 3-8 Bahrain and
Kuwait) the members saw for themselves the types of abuse
Indonesian migrant workers are at times subjected to. For
instance, in Bahrain they visited a holding center where they
allegedly saw 615 detainees being held in a facility designed
to accommodate 100. In Malaysia they met with Indonesian
Embassy officials who reportedly complained bitterly about
their inability to adequately care for migrant workers
because of a severe lack of resources. The Working Group was
stunned to learn that, based on IOM's investigation, more
than ninety percent of the Indonesian female migrant workers
in Bahrain and Kuwait were the victims of illegal labor
recruiters.

USG FUNDING URGENTLY NEEDED

6, (U) Action Request: IOM officials are seeking funding
for a project to work with the GOI to overhaul labor law 34.
They want to take advantage of the momentum and interest
generated by the recently concluded project on labor
migration. The project will begin as soon as funding is
provided and last between nine to twelve months. Needed
changes to the current labor law include tougher restrictions
on "worker placement institutions" and stiffer penalties for
illegal labor brokers. By funding this project, the USG will
be directly involved in strengthening the GOI's prevention
and protection of trafficking victims. Mission urges
Washington to signal support for this program to IOM. We
will provide details on the exact funding request when it
becomes available.

HUME

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