Enforcing Labour Rights of Trafficked Migrant Workers and Refugees in Indonesia

Monday, 16 July 2018: 10:45
Oral Presentation
Wayne PALMER, Bina Nusantara University, Jakarta, Indonesia
Antje MISSBACH, Monash University, Australia
The multi-directional nature of labour migration flows has resulted in an increasing number of countries having become both senders and receivers of regular and irregular migrants. However, some countries continue to see themselves primarily as senders and so ignore their role as a receiving country, which can have negative implications for the rights of migrants in their territory. Using the example of Indonesia, which is State Party to the 1990 UN Convention on the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Their Families, this paper demonstrates that irregular migrants have the legal right to protection against labour exploitation even when they work despite the government’s prohibition on employment. It discusses the ‘right to work’, how the interpretation has been modified so that the right’s underlying principles also apply to irregular migrants, how international organizations contribute to the interpretation’s promotion, and how the Indonesian government has subsequently reported compliance. The paper then canvasses the institutional set-up for enforcement of labour rights in Indonesia, paying particular attention to the technical reasons why certain groups of irregular migrants are denied access. It offers two case studies about the Indonesian government’s responses to an asylum seeker and person trafficked for forced labour whose situations had both immigration and labour dimensions before going on to discuss tensions between the competing policy priorities of employment prohibition and the right to protection from labour exploitation.