Partial Implementation of Migrant Rights Protection? Indonesia’s Short-Sighted Approach towards Foreign Migrant Workers

In: Asian International Studies Review
Whisnu Setiawan Centre for Business and Diplomatic Studies (CBDS), Bina Nusantara University Jakarta 11480 Indonesia

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Moch Faisal Karim International Relations Department, Faculty of Humanities, Bina Nusantara University Kemanggisan Ilir III No. 45, Jakarta 11480 Indonesia

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This article examines the disparity between Indonesia’s efforts to protect its migrant workers abroad with its efforts to ensure the rights of migrant workers within its borders. As a state party to the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (ICRMW), Indonesia is obliged to uphold the rights of migrant workers regardless of their migratory pattern. Despite its efforts to protect Indonesian migrant workers abroad, it often seems to neglect its obligation to enforce migrant workers’ rights at home. This article will show how the state-sanctioned mechanisms to settle labor disputes between foreign migrant workers and employers are generally designed to benefit the latter. These mechanisms usually focus on the legality of the workers to determine to which rights they are entitled, if any. Furthermore, the absence of support from Indonesia in enforcing other migrant workers’ rights at ASEAN regional platforms reinforces this short-sighted approach of defining migrant workers exclusively as Indonesians overseas, while overlooking its obligations to migrant workers within Indonesia.

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