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Friday, January 29, 2016

Six Gulf countries informed of Indonesia domestic workers ban

Manama: Indonesia has banned its citizens from working as domestic helpers in 19 countries in the Middle East, including the six member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

The ban was decided on July 1, 2015, but the Middle East countries were formally informed about it on January 20, Saudi daily Al Riyadh reported, without giving further details.

In May, reports in Indonesia said the country was planning to impose the ban in a bid to protect its citizens from abuses and inadequate labour laws in Middle East countries.

Indonesian manpower minister Hanif Dhakiri reportedly said that there were "many problems" with Indonesians working abroad related to "labour norms and human rights violations.”

However, in October, reports said the ban of the helpers would be temporary after

Muhammad Iqbal, the Foreign Ministry’s Director of Indonesian Nation Protection and Legal Institutions, said in the Saudi capital that the ministry was working on reorganizing the deployment of Indonesian helpers abroad, and not just in Saudi Arabia.

He told Saudi daily Al Riyadh that there were moves by the Indonesian government to reach a formula that would be acceptable to both parties.

He said 270,000 Indonesians were officially employed in Saudi Arabia, but added that the total number according to unofficial statistics put the number at around 700,000.

The official said that 10,000 complaints were filed annually by Indonesian workers against their Saudi sponsors.

According to Muruli Wilson Mukasa, the Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development, "the ban will remain in force until the conditions are deemed fitting.”

“The ban is also in line with Parliament recommendation on banning recruitment and deployment of housemaids,” the minister said, Ugandan daily The Independent reported on Friday.

The daily attributed the ban to allegations of mistreatment by Ugandan helpers mentioned in a recording that went viral on local social media platforms.

In July, the Ugandan government and the Saudi Ministry of Labour signed an agreement for employing domestic workers from Uganda in Saudi Arabia.

The two countries also agreed on a Standard Employment Contract which was to govern the employment of Ugandan Domestic workers in Saudi Arabia, the daily said. The contract was to be adopted by all Saudi employers and Ugandan domestic workers.

Source: Gulf News, January 29, 2016

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