Press Statement Against Death Penalty for Migrant Workers

Indonesia is grieving once again. Two women, Siti binti Zaenab and Karni Medi Tarsim got beheaded in Saudi Arabia. In this process, the state again failed to fulfil its role and duties in providing protection to its citizens.

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, Retno LP Marsudi, said that she was cheated and did not know that there are two Indonesian citizens sentenced to death. Our diplomatic effort  to solve this problem is to call representative of the Embassy of Saudi Arabia to protest over the incident. According to Foreign Minister Marsudi, the embassy of the Republic of Indonesia has been performing its duties and its role optimally and that the legal counselling has been done. However, is that all what the Republic of Indonesia can be done to its people?

Such death penalty is not the first case. In fact, since August 1, 2015, the Indonesian government, represented by the minister of labor, has imposed a moratorium, or temporary suspension of cooperation with Arab countries to dispatch Indonesian citizens. This moratorium was made due to the high incidence of death penalty against migrant workers in Saudi. The moratorium has not been canceled and there already two of our citizens were put to death in Saudi Arabia. This case showed that human trafficking is still happen against the law in Indonesia. It’s an evidence that there is lack of law enforcement in the field.
The unrest did not stop here. Currently 36 of our citizens have entered the list of the death penalty in Saudi Arabia. Throughout the world there are more than 200 Indonesian citizens facing the death penalty. The government cannot remain silent and indifferent in providing protection to its citizens, as mandated by our constitution. Efforts to establish special task force is not the answer, because it has limited authority therefore not be able to advocate the needs of strong diplomacy to protect Indonesian citizens.

Under these conditions, we, FAMM Indonesia strongly demand for the fulfillment of human rights of Indonesian citizens by:

  • Abolishing the death penalty in Indonesia policy because it’s the impact of our government policy.
  • Reinforcing the moratorium with Arab countries and punish all those involved in human smuggling, including the recruitment agencies that sent them.
  • Judicial review of Law No. 39 of 2004 regarding the placement and protection of migrant workers to be in harmony with the Convention on the Protection of Migrant Workers and their families.
  • Creating layered policy in providing protection for female workers from various acts of violence, especially migrant workers.


Niken Lestari for FAMM Indonesia

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