[Stop-traffic] News/HK: 1,000 Indon maids protest against rights violations in H.K.

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Subject: [Stop-traffic] News/HK: 1,000 Indon maids protest against rights violations in H.K.
From: Jeffrey D. Ballinger (jeffreyd@mindspring.com)
Date: Tue Oct 31 2000 - 10:12:03 EST


> Deutsche Presse-Agentur
> October 23, 2000
>
> Indonesian maids protest against rights violation
>
> Hong Kong,
>
> More than 1,000 foreign domestic workers from Indonesia protested
against
> low pay, excessive agency fees and abuse in Hong Kong, a report said on
> Monday.
>
> The demonstrators urged the the Indonesian Consulate to take action to
> tackle the injustice they encountered in Hong Kong.
>
> The number of migrant workers from Indonesia has surged from 1,000 in
> 1990 to more than 58,000 in 2000, an increase of 50-fold over the past 10
> years, the South China Morning Post reported.
>
> Indonesian Migrant Workers Union chairperson Sulastri accused the
> Indonesian government of being ignorant of the dramatic increase.
>
> "The more people work in Hong Kong, the more problems we have to face,
> but the government offers no solution for us," she said. "Violation of our
> rights is
> rampant."
>
> The workers demanded the government scrap high recruitment and
contract
> renewal fees charged by employment agencies in Indonesia. At present
every
> migrant worker wishing to work in Hong Kong is required to pay 17,000 Hong
> Kong dollars (2,180 dollars) to the recruitment agency concerned.
>
> "Many workers suffer salary deduction because of the fee charge, and
many
> never receive the language and skills training promised by these
agencies,"
> Sulastri said.
>
> Under the Hong Kong law, agencies cannot charge more than 10 per cent
of
> a worker's salary. The official salary for helpers required by the law is
> 3,670
> Hong Kong dollars (470 dollars).
>
> According to Rex Varona, executive director of the Asia Migrant
Centre, up
> to 90 per cent of the migrant workers in Hong Kong are paid much less than
> that.
>
> "The law is good, but the enforcement is problematic," he said. The
> workers
> also demanded a labour attache at the Consulate in Hong Kong, similar to
the
> one at the Philippines Consulate which offers help to workers in need.
>
> The Indonesian Consul, Mufti Sidibab Yatim, said the consulate was
> considering setting up an attache within a year. He said a letter was sent
to
> the Minister of Jakarta asking for the withdrawal of the renewal fee, but
he
> was
> still waiting for a reply.
>
> Yatim also revealed that a new task force was to set up to monitor
> employment agencies. dpa al pr
>
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