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Statement by
Dr. Sumarjati Arjoso

Chairperson of National Family Planning Coordinating Board,
Republic of Indonesia

On Agenda Item 4
39th Session of the Commission on
Population and Development

New York, 4 April 2006



Mr. Chairman,

Let me begin by congratulating you on your election as the chairperson of the thirty-ninth session of the Commission on Population and Development and extend similar sentiments to the other members of the Bureau on their election. My delegation aligns itself to the statement made by the delegation of South Africa on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.

We wish also to thank the Population Division of the UN-DESA for preparing the necessary documents including the Compendium of Recommendations on International Migration and Development. Of significant importance too was the statement made by Under-Secretary-General Ocampo who underlined the need to ensure universal access to reproductive health for all, in order to achieve gender equality and advance the status of women.

Mr. Chairman

The issue of international migration is a complex phenomena that requires the full involvement of all governments at the national, bilateral, regional and international levels. For Indonesia, recent developments have forced us to review the way in which we handle this global issue. Being one of the major sending countries, our migrant workers are now located in 19 destination countries in Asia- Pacific, the Middle East, North America and Europe. The number of Indonesian migrant workers amount to around one million people. These workers generate remittances valuing up to US$ 5.49 billion or representing 0.75% of GOP. These workers contributes to the Indonesia’s economic well-being.

Despite appreciating the contributive value of Indonesia migrant workers to the national economy, the government has come to realize that more efforts are needed to address the issue of protection of the rights of these migrant workers, It has come to our attention that in dealing with this complex issue of migration, challenges are present at every stage of the migration process.

Mr. Chairman,

Due to eagerness and receiving a sense of false hope, Indonesia migrant workers often venture upon overseas employment offers without sufficient information about the entire migration process. Consequently, many of the travel as undocumented migrants, thus becoming vulnerable to unfair working conditions in the host countries or threats of deportation while there. Many female workers are forced to endure physical, psychological or sexual abuse as well as other forms of ill treatment from their employers or in the wider society.

In response to this situation, the Indonesian Government has enacted Law No. 39/2004 on Placement and Protection of Indonesian Overseas Workers which aims to bring about (1) better management of migration flows, including improvement in the quality of workers and reductions in the number of illegal and undocumented workers (2) establishment of institutional mechanisms for the placement and protection of Indonesian migrant workers; and (3) advocacy on their behalf.

With this new Law, protection is enhanced through the application of administrative and penal sanctions for any breach of its provisions. Work is also being conducted to achieve in-country support systems in receiving countries; a more transparent mechanism for support services; data collection; and cooperation with other government agencies.

Mr. Chairman,

To ensure adequate coordination between the different ministries and government agencies in the implementation of the new migrant labor policy, Law No. 39/2004 calls for the setting up of a National Body working under the direct supervision of the President to oversee the Placement and Protection of Indonesian Overseas Workers. This Body will function as the focal point in formulating policies, coordinating their implementation, providing services, supervising the migration process and providing protection and advocacy on behalf of migrant workers experiencing difficulties, as well as promoting remittance facilitation. Additionally, in an effort to reduce the number of undocumented migrant workers, a Presidential Decree on Population Mobility to ensure better management of migration in and out of Indonesia is also being prepared.

Mr. Chairman,

The value of remittances to Indonesia has steadily increased overtime. This amount is quite significant and contributes to the Indonesian economy. However, we have always been of the view that remittance should in no way replace ODA as a source of funding for development.

More importantly the crux of the matter in dealing with these global phenomena will be strengthening cooperation and collaboration amongst governments at the bilateral and regional level. It is against the background that Indonesia has convened several initiatives. Critical to the issue of international migration was the establishment of regional consultative process namely the Bali Process on people smuggling, trafficking in persons and related transnational crimes in 2002, involving some 58 countries in the Asia Pacific Region and 16 international organizations including the IOM, UHNCR, and UNODC.

Indonesia has also convened the 3rd Labor Ministerial Meeting in Bali in August 2005, involving the receiving Gulf countries. Indonesia, through the ASEAN has established several regional arrangements, including bilateral agreements with several ASEAN Countries and also with receiving countries in the Asia Pacific. In preparation for the Nigh-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development in New York in September 2006, Indonesia will convene a side event during the 62nd Session of the UNESCAP in Jakarta on 12 April 2006 and “National Symposium on International Migration and Development” in June 2006 involving all national stakeholders.

Mr. Chairman,

The issue of international migration requires the strong participation of all relevant agents. For its part, Indonesia invites governments, international organizations and institutions to cooperate in the formulation and implementation of its migration policies especially through technical assistance capacity building and information sharing. And as part of a comprehensive solution to increasing flows of migrant workers around the world, Indonesia strongly supports the need for global development partnerships which would make migration a choice, rather than a necessity.

I thank you.

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