In April 2007, issues on the Indonesian migrant workers (IMW) in Iraq returns to get focus from mass media. At least 65 IMW trapped in Iraq. Works as housemaid and besieged by flaming of war which has not been ended yet.
As usual, governmental acted lag and tends to claim that they did not know the condition of IMW in Iraq. Position and tendency of this government is really disappointing. Even of course there is no agreement of placement of IMW in Iraq, but opportunity existence of location in illegal in Iraq remains to open.
This is not the first time that public gets information about existence of IMW in Iraq. Its starts from case Istiqomah and Casingkem, then case 72 IMW working in United States military champs, case Elly Anita, and others.
The Government ought to able to do reaction quickly by giving direct help and does assessment about location phenomenon of Indonesia migrant workers in Iraq. It’s not only for legalizing the placement in Iraq, but to close and prevent the illegal sending of Indonesian migrant workers to Iraq. Thereby, cases as befalling 62 IMW which now reside in Iraq can be prevented.
US Aggression to Iraq
Existence of IMW in Iraq in fact not quit of war which since the year 2003 dazes in the country. It is the five years war and until now there’s still no sign to be ended. Armed conflict, suicide bomb, contradiction between factions and groups, and other form of armed conflicts hardly easy to happen in the country. Besides threats in country, the potency of armed conflict also to emerge from Turkey, state abutting on Iraq.
United States who were leading the military aggression to Iraq increasingly difficulty to overcome security and safety threat in the country. The US Puppet regime that leads by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki tends to fail in order to overcome the violence and conflict which the frequency of it cannot be determined.
Hitherto, besides creating loss equal to more than US$ 500 billions, Iraq war have also swallowed soul victim that is not small. More than 4000 Iraq armies have died as result of the war and millions of Iraqi people die as result of violence in last five years.
Besides debouching the international lampooning, the “war on oil” that launched by US President George W. Bush also emerging the anti-war sentiment inside his country. It’s of course affecting the political stability of the number one imperialist country in the world. This situation increasingly makes worse the leadership which now middle is besieged economic crisis threat and a real finance weight.
Must be comprehended, aggression war led by United States in fact is precondition of mobilizing the Indonesian Migrant Workers to Iraq. As imperialist wars before all, US aggression to Iraq, in essence, were meant to crush the productive forces. In the context of Iraq war, migration of refugees of Iraqi resident to some states in Persian Gulf area and Middle East has caused declines it supply and availability of labor in the state.
On the other side, war has caused the damage for infrastructures, either physical or also social. It must soon be improved to assist the recovery. This situation peeps out the need of labor.
In the eyes of labor supply institution, Iraq war was viewed as the business opportunities. From information collected by www.warprofiteer.org it is known that open sectors for location of foreign labor were wide enough. From related sectors of oil mining, infrastructure and property, social services, until security and safety service sectors and espionage for the sake of business.
Most of the Indonesian migrant workers that recruited and supplied in Iraq were works as housemaid. This because the concentration of Indonesian labor supply companies that operated in Middle East were mostly in domestic sectors. There’s no agreement or arrangement of migrant workers placement between Indonesia and Iraq. Thereby, the IMW whom now were trapped in Iraq, is victim of speculation that done by agencies for big profit upon the Iraqi war.
The illegal placement of Indonesian migrant workers in Iraq of course was not easy to prevent. However, it is not something that impossible for our government to prevent this illegal sending of migrant workers. The modus of sending migrant workers to Iraq also can be studied. The first step to do this is by opening the news archive regarding cases of IMW in Iraq that previously covered by mass media.
There’re two cases that we would like to present in this essay; first the case of Casingkem bt Kaspin (22) and Istiqomah bt Misnad (36) in 2004; and second the case of Elly Anita and 18 migrant workers in 2007. Other case that we would like to present is the case of 72 Indonesian migrant workers that employed in US military camp in Iraq in 2007.
• Istiqomah and Casingkem, 2004
Both sent by PT Akbar Insan Prima (AIP), Indonesia labor supply agency (PJTKI) from Condet area, East Jakarta. By the company who sent them, they both were given false identity. Istiqomah is given passport on behalf of Rosidah bt Tohir Ahim whereas Casingkem given passport on behalf of Rafikah bt Nasim. Casingkem was also known as Novitasari bt Sugito, until finally public recognizes her as Casingkem.
The forgery of identity document of Istiqomah and Casingkem was because the PJTKI tend to simplify the problem of identity. It can be considered as a crime, but because it tends to be “habited” in Indonesia, so the law enforcement in prevention the forgery of document was not to be comprehended. Istiqomah was given the passport on behalf Rosidah because they were assumed had a same face. Rosidah itself was an applicant migrant from Sukabumi, West Java, who were never comeback to the reception center of migrant workers after several times been contacted.
Of course, there’re not only name that had been changed, other important data, like address and families also been changed. For example Casingkem, when she was called Rafikah bt Nasim, people assumed her address in Cianjur, West Java. Then, when she was known as Novitasari, people guessed that she came from Malang, East Java. Last, when she was finally identified as Casingkem, her address is in RT 09/04, Bongas Village, Indramayu, West Java Province. So was Istiqomah. She came from Banyuwangi, East Java, but when she was as Rosidah, she was guessed from Sukabumi, West Java.
Information that received by families of both IMW also confusing. Initially, Istiqomah and Casingkem was informed will work in Singapore. They both were sent to Singapore, but only for transit. Then they were flown to Jordan before smuggled to Iraq. This process, of course, will not be informed to the government officials.
Information on this issue was comes up from the media. Al Jazeera TV Station was displaying footages of two IMW that were kidnapped by militant of Iraq. Kidnappers were using this moment to demand the Indonesian government to release Kiayi Haji Abubakar Ba’asyir who was sentence in jail of accusation to involve terrorism.
Why they kidnapped those IMWs? According to Istiqomah and Casingkem, the kidnappers were initially assumed that they both were wives of expatriate from foreign companies that operate in Iraq. But after Istiqomah shows the photograph of her husband, the kidnappers believe and then both frees.
• Elly Anita, September-November 2007
The case of Elly Anita was emerged during the growing military tension between Turkey and Kurd military forces in September 2007. The Turkey government assumed the Kurdistan area that lied in the border of Turkey and Iraq had become the military base of Kurd’s armed guerilla units. During that time, Elly Anita and at least 18 IMWs were works as housemaid in the Kurdistan Area.
As we all known, the Kurd inhabited in Kurdistan area which separate in three different states; Iraq, Iran, and Turkey. After the military aggression to Iraq, US had maintained their relation with the Kurd rebellion groups to overthrow the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Political instability during the unfinished war in Iraq created opportunities to the Kurd military groups to develop their unit and resistances.
Considering the political situation in Iraq and its effect to the Kurd, the Turkey government tried to anticipate the arising of Kurd resistance by launching military operation in Kurdistan where also the borderline of Turkey and Iraq. The political position of Turkey was also caused by the US war policy in Iraq that in the eyes of Turkey, was giving opportunities for the Kurd to develop their political resistance for independence. The Turkey military operation in the borderline was initially to maintain their territorial stability and prevent the growing of Kurd resistance.
In the mid of that situation, Elly Anita, who was working as housemaid in that area, was eager to get out from that area to elude the war. According to Elly Anita, there’re also 18 IMW that also trapped in the area. Elly tried to make a phone call to Indonesian embassy in Dubai. She was blamed by the embassy because of it. Then someone from IOM finally reaches her and recommends her to get contact with Migrant-CARE.
Elly Anita had been released from Iraq. But there’re still 62 IMW still trapped in Iraq.
The Government Responsibility
As the case of Istiqomah and Casingkem, the governmental impressed almost no concern on it. Beside lag in process and ascertains information, governmental also looks confuse to get the effective method to release the IMW from Iraq area.
At the same time also reported on that about 72 IMWs are working in US military camp in Baghdad. Information about existence of ke-72 IMW came from Steven Lathu, one of the IMW which was returned Iraq. According to Lathu, IMW sent to Iraq initially amounts to 86, 14 among others has returned to Iraq. The IMW sent by PT North Java Sea Group, based in Cilandak Dalam, Jakarta Selatan.
Anis Hidayah, Director Migrant Care tells, “in September 2007, the IMWs residing in Iraq, reached almost 70, but only 29 women that had been identified. Five among them have been returned to Indonesia; Eli Anita, Darniati and Castini which is returned in 7 November 2007 and Siti Suleha and Aan Fathona is returned to Indonesia 6 December 2007. The rest now still around 65” (Harian Terbit, 1 April 2008).
We can be interpreted that government simply do not make any, especially since December 2007 hitherto, to return migrant workers Indonesia that is now is snared in Iraq. As for previous action given by government only form of response remembers the cases gets attention from mass media.
Thereby, if Istiqomah and Casingkem didn’t kidnapped by militant and TV Al Jazeera doesn't display their picture, or if Elly Anita didn’t have the idea to give information on her existence in Iraq, or if Steven Lathu the IMW which worked in US military camp in Iraq didn’t told to public that there’re 72 IMW in Iraq, of course government will never know about existence of IMW in Iraq.
This situation in fact disappoints Indonesia public. Governmental actually can do many actions to prevent this situation. From they are sure much important information of which able to be dug to reconstruct problems braid, modus, actors is involving, and because it is not impossible actual amount more than 65, serious effort to collect information from the IMW can enable government of verification number of in fact IMW snared in Iraq.
Institute for National and Democratic Studies
Jakarta, 7 April 2008
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