Indonesia fails to protect its foreign workersBy Chalid Nasution Jun 22, 2011 8:24PM UTC
Nearly a week has passed since Ruyati’s execution, a worker from Indonesia in Saudi Arabia, but talk about the case was still “hot” in many public discussions. Ruyati’s death penalty without prior notice has become a lethal blow for the Indonesian government, especially for the regulator of foreign policy.
In Jakarta, the various elements of society and students demonstrated against the handling of the Ruyati case. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives tried to examine the case from a political point of view by criticizing foreign minister and minister of labor. Some media in Indonesia are linking the Ruyati case with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s speech at the 100th ILO Conference in Geneva, Switzerland on June 14, 2011. From Geneva, in the presence of the ILO conference participants, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said: “I believe that this convention can Provide guidance to the sending and the host government to protect my domestic workers. This is an important issue to Indonesia.”
This is not a standalone case. Last year, Sumiati, a 23-year-old from Dompu, West Nusa Tenggara was abused by her employer, who cut off her lips. That time, the Indonesian government worked hard at diplomatic level. The result, the government of Saudi Arabia stated employer Sumiati guilty and sentenced him to three years in prison.
In Saudi Arabia, there are still 25 names of Indonesian workers who have been convicted and executed immediately. From tracing the various sources they were all work-related homicides, and all defendants claimed self-defense due to torture or sexual abuse committed by employers. One name from the list of 25 fared a bit lucky. Darsem from Subang, West Java will soon be executed, and can be beheaded at any time without prior notice. But for Darsem, the punishment could be avoided if she can pay 4.7 billion Rupiah or US$400,000. Since that case was elevated to the media, several organizations and the media began to raise money to pay the fine. And after Ruyati case the government finally decided to save Darsem by paying a fine, rather than diplomacy.