Indonesia to stop sending maids to Mideast

Indonesia bans sending domestic workers to Middle Eastern countries after two of its citizens were executed in Saudi Arabia

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Indonesia will not send any more domestic workers to 21 Middle Eastern countries, where 1.5 million Indonesian citizens are employed, following the execution of two Indonesian women working as maids.

Indonesian maid Siti Zaenab Duhri was beheaded in Saudi Arabia last month, more than 15 years after she was arrested for killing her employer. Amnesty International reported that she was suspected to be suffering from mental illness.

Another maid, Karni binti Medi Tarsim, was also put to death for murder just days later. She was sentenced for killing her employer's child two years ago.

The recent executions have angered Jakarta, which has deplored the treatment of maids from Indonesia in Arab countries. Indonesian media reported that the government tried to contact with the victim's family via Saudi Arabia’s deputy foreign minister and offered "blood money." But the attempts failed to stop the execution. Indonesia summoned the Saudi ambassador in response, complaining Jakarta had not been informed before the executions.

According to the local media, the ban will affect Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Qatar, Southern Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

While the ban is said to be permanent and will go into effect in three moves, maids who are already working in those countries will be allowed to stay.

Indonesian domestic workers who work in Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia, have also complained about bad treatment and abuses. A Hong Kong woman was jailed for six years for beating and starving her Indonesian maid last February.

Indonesia's manpower minister, Hanif Dhakiri, said Indonesia will also tighten the process for sending domestic workers to Asia-Pacific countries "through measures such as auditing training centres and blacklisting rogue agencies," local media reported.

Indonesia has recently been criticised by the international community over the execution of eight drugs convicts by firing squad. Activists, who demanded that Indonesia to stop the executions, called Jakarta's complaints "hypocrisy."

The abuse of domestic servants has been widely reported in international media in recent years. One of President Joko Widodo's election promises was that maids would no longer be sent abroad.

TRTWorld and agencies