Migrant Forum in Asia
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Hunger Strike & the Withdrawal of the Anti Migrant Policy No. 2258/2007

“The withdrawal of the SE No. 2258 is just a small victory for the Indonesian migrants domestic workers in Hong Kong, we will continue to organize, unionize and mobilize our self for bigger victory to combat other anti migrant policies such as Excessive Placement Fees by the Indonesian Government and the Two Week Rule Policy of the Hong Kong Government” — Stated by Rosemi, the Chairperson of Indonesian Migrant Workers Union (IMWU).

One Small Victory for Indonesian Migrant Workers in Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region of China

Sunday, 17 February 2008, in the face of a mass action by migrant domestic workers who held a two day hunger strike, finally the Indonesian Consul General in Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region of China, Mr. Ferry Adamhar announced the withdraw of his policy No. 2258/IA/XII/2008. This policy required all Indonesian migrant workers to get permission from both their agency and the Consulate before they could change their employment agency leading to the continued extortion of migrant workers through the 7 months wage deduction.

The announcement from the consul general was made only after a month long campaign by the Hong Kong Coalition of Indonesian Migrant Workers Organization (KOTKIHO) and the Indonesian Migrants Workers Union (IMWU). Since the first week of January, nearly almost every Sunday, these two migrants domestic workers organization and union have been working very hard to organize mass actions and public awareness programs in order to widen support to push for the withdrawal of the SE 2258 policy, until finally they decided to conduct a hunger strike in front of the Indonesian Consulate Office in Leighton Road, Causeway Bay starting on Saturday, 16 February 2008.

Finally, for the second time, the consulate requested that the migrant’s leaders join them in a dialogue, that Sunday, while the other migrants continued with their hunger strike. Coming out from the dialogue, this was the first ever in history that the consul general was willing to meet the migrants during the mass demonstration and then personally announced the new policy to replace the SE 2258 policy.

There are several important points that Mr. Adamhar announced publicly in front of the mobilized migrant workers and hunger strike, as follows:

  • The employment agency has to provide “a guarantee letter” to the Consul General stating that they will not charge more than 10% of the migrants’ first month salary as a payment for processing the contract renewal of Indonesian migrants in Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region of China.
  • For those migrants who want to change their employment agency to process their contract renewal it will not be necessary to report to the Consulate.
  • When changing their employment agency for contract renewal, it is not necessary anymore to get an endorsement letter from the old employment agency.

Spontaneously, the migrants who were on the hunger strike were expressing their deep and sincerely happiness to hear the new policies. Some of the migrants who participated in the demonstration and were showing their solidarity with those on the hunger strike were crying and holding each other and almost did not believe what they achieved.

“This is the result of our togetherness and unity in fighting for the rights of migrants, this small victory will become our strength to continue fight for our rights ” expressed Ms. Wulan, the chairperson of KOTKIHO in responding to the victory that they has gain last Sunday.

However, KOTKIHO and IMWU feel that this small victory, which they just gained last Sunday, will become their spirit to continue the long struggle ahead to fight for the justice and equality for all migrants’ workers.

Therefore, KOTKIHO and IMWU would like to call for more support and solidarity to continually demand the Indonesian and Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region of China governments to:

  • Completely remove and stop underpayment practices by Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region of China Employers and Employment Agencies;
  • Immediately reduced the placement fees from HKD21,000 to HKD9,000 for the newly arrived Indonesian migrants in Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region of China;
  • Blacklisted Employers and Employment Agencies who have abused the labour laws and the rights of migrants workers as guaranteed by International Laws stated under CEDAW, CEARD, ICCPR, and other covenants which Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region of China and Indonesia have ratified.
  • Scrub The New Condition of Stay and Two Week Rule policies of Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region of China Immigration, a restricted and discriminating policy toward migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region of China.
  • Ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (ICPMW).

“Migrants Rights are Human Rights!”
“Domestic Work is Work, not slavery!

Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region of China , 19 Februarry 2008

In Solidarity,
Sri Wulan Mawarsih, the Chairperson of KOTKIHO
Rosemi, the Chairperson of IMWU

[IMWU and KOTKIHO are the member of Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA), The member of Coalition for Migrants Rights (CMR), and also the Member of the Asian Domectic Workers Alliance ( ADWA)]

About Us

MFA is a regional network of non-government organizations (NGOs), associations and trade unions of migrant workers, and individual advocates in Asia who are committed to protect and promote the rights and welfare of migrant workers.

It is guided by a vision of an alternative world system based on respect for human rights and dignity, social justice, and gender equity, particularly for migrant workers.

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