UN Women and the European Union Deliver Personal Protective Equipment and Prevention of Violence Information Materials to Support Women Migrant Workers during COVID-19

Date: Thursday, August 20, 2020

[Press release]

Ambassador of the European Union to ASEAN, Igor Driesmans handed over PPE kits to Director General of Social Rehabilitation of the Ministry of Social Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, Harry Hikmat to support women migrant workers during the pandemic. Photo: UN Women/Putra Djohan.

Jakarta, 19 August 2020 - UN Women and the European Union (EU) handed over 3,000 units of personal protective equipment (PPE), hygiene kit, and information materials for preventing violence against women to the Ministry of Social Affairs. The kits will be distributed to returning Indonesian migrant workers as part of the joint commitment to support Government of Indonesia in its efforts towards containing COVID-19.

There are 23,858 Indonesian women migrant workers or 70% of total migrant workers, returning from countries affected by COVID-19 as of July 2020.[1] Of that figures, some returnees have been put under quarantine at the Ministry of Social Affairs temporary shelter as part of COVID-19 precautionary protocols.

Women migrant workers have been at risk of exploitation, subjected to multiple layers of discrimination and gender-based violence even before the pandemic – a situation which is now exacerbated. They also face a higher risk of losing livelihoods, having their labour and human rights violated, including trafficking, and contracting the coronavirus.

“Women migrant workers are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. They often work in essential but low-paid and vulnerable jobs placing them at higher risk of exposure to the coronavirus. Furthermore, COVID-19 exacerbates women migrant workers’ increased risk of gender-based violence during all stages of migration. Hence, it is now more important than ever to ensure access to essential services, such as health, justice and social services for all migrant women, especially migrant women victims and survivors of gender-based violence,” said Jamshed Kazi, UN Women Indonesia Representative and Liaison to ASEAN.

Igor Driesmans, Ambassador of the European Union to ASEAN said, “Protecting women migrant workers during this pandemic is a top priority. We need to ensure that service providers are able to respond effectively to the needs of women migrant workers. With these essential items and information material, the EU is pleased to be working with UN Women, the Ministry of Social Affairs, and our national partners to help women migrant workers stay safe and to enable service providers to run an effective response.”

The PPE was received by DR. Ir. Harry Hikmat, M.Si, Director General of Social Rehabilitation of the Ministry of Social Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia.

“Ensuring the fulfillment of the Indonesian migrant workers victims of human trafficking’s needs, specifically women migrant workers, is one of our mandate. During the COVID-19 pandemic, besides holding rapid tests, we also equipped them with PPE, information on personal hygiene, social rehabilitation and information on safe and procedural migration. Women migrant workers deserve the rights to come home safely and comfortably,” said DR. Ir. Harry Hikmat, M.Si, the Director General of Social Rehabilitation.

The PPE Kits and information materials will be distributed to migrant returnees who are quarantined in two shelters owned by the Ministry of Social Affairs at Cipayung, East Jakarta and Tanjung Pinang, Kepulauan Riau. Photo: UN Women/Putra Djohan.

These kits are provided by UN Women with financial support from the European Union as part of “Safe and Fair (SAF): Realizing women migrant workers’ rights and opportunities in the ASEAN region”, part of the Spotlight Initiative to eliminate violence against women and girls, a global, multi-year initiative between the EU and the United Nations. The SAF project aims to ensure that labour migration is safe and fair for all women in the ASEAN region, including Indonesia. The kits containing personal protection goods (masks and sanitizers) will be helpful in pandemic conditions, which is likely to be prolonged until an effective vaccine can be developed. In addition, information materials for preventing violence against women are included in the kit to help migrant workers to anticipate and prepare for their safety throughout the migration process. 

The shelter staffs with the kits containing personal protection goods (masks and sanitizers) and information materials for preventing violence against women. Photo: UN Women/Putra Djohan.

UN Women works in close partnership with the Government of Indonesia and aims to comprehensively support Indonesian women migrant workers and to continue safeguarding their human rights during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. As part of this efforts, UN Women has also recently supported the Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protections for the Protocols in Handling the Case of Gender Based Violence and Trafficking of Women Migrant Workers during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

 

Media Contact:

  • UN Women: Radhiska Anggiana, radhiska.anggiana@unwomen.org
  • EU: Tioria Silalahi, tioria.silalahi@eeas.europa.eu

 


[1] Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection Data on Women’s Migrant Workers as of 5 July 2020.