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November 22, 2010. Jakarta (KATAKAMI / THE JAKARTA GLOBE) — The head of an Indonesian inter-ministerial team established to ensure justice for tortured migrant worker Sumiati still does not have a visa to enter Saudi Arabia where the abuse took place.
Linda Gumelar, the state minister for women’s empowerment and child protection, confirmed on Monday that she was still waiting for a visa to be allowed to enter the country.
“A ministerial-level visa not only needs to be approved by the Saudi Embassy in Indonesia but also by authorities in Saudi Arabia,” she told the Jakarta Globe said, refusing to speculate on the reasons why the process appeared stalled.
“Let’s not think negatively. I heard the Saudi government hasn’t approved my visa because it is still a holiday there. Today the government just resumed their activities,” she said.
She did concede, however, that Saudi authorities had granted visas to other members of her team.
“Several members of my team have departed for Saudi and we have kept in close contact. I have also met with the Saudi ambassador who promised to help speed up my visa,” she said.
Linda was instructed by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to lead an inter-ministerial team to help deliver justice is served for Sumiati, 23, whose shocking injuries again highlighted the abuse of female migrant workers in the Middle East.
Muhaimin Iskandar, the minister of manpower and transmigration, meanwhile, said the body of Kikim Komalasari, an Indonesian worker who was allegedly killed by her employers in Saudi Arabia, would be flown home to Cianjur, West Java, next week.
“A team from the National Board for the Placement and Protection of Indonesian Overseas Workers (BNP2TKI) has arrived in Jeddah to take care of the administration to take the body back home to Indonesia,” Muhaimin told state news agency Antara.
Kikim’s brutalized body was found in the dumpster last week. Her neck was slashed and she had severe cuts to the rest of her body. Saudi Police alleged she was murdered by her employers.
Muhaimin threatened to withdraw the licenses of labor supply agencies (PJTKI) that sent migrant workers abroad internationally.
“Every PJTKI supplying problematic migrant workers will be sanctioned and their licenses will be frozen,” he said. (*)