Joint oral statement on the human trafficking in Malaysia

Andrzej Owca participated in the 40th Session of Human Rights Council and contributed to the process through Joint Oral Statements. This is a joint statement related to the previous UPR submissions on Malaysia on migrant workers from Indonesia in Malaysia and on trafficking in persons.

Link to the text in pdf file

40th Session of the Human Rights Council Agenda Item 6: UPR Adoption – Malaysia

Joint Oral Statement
Delivered by: Andrzej Owca

Thank you, Mr. President,

VIVAT International, Franciscans International and The Indonesian Zero Human Trafficking Network, welcome the UPR outcomes of Malaysia and the acceptance of most of the recommendations regarding migrant workers and trafficking in person.

However, we are still very much concerned about the human rights situation of migrant workers and victims of trafficking in person. Based on the available data[1] for the period from 2013 to 2018[2], 34% (198,864 workers) of migrant workers who have worked in the domestic sector in Malaysia are Indonesian. Of these, 99% are women vulnerable to physical, psychological and sexual violence and exploitation due to excessive working hours.

Indonesian migrants also work in other sectors, such as, palm oil plantation and construction work. They are often subjected to severe punishment and torture, even to death. They are denied decent salaries, right to holidays, right to change jobs or return home.

The statistic from the Indonesian National Agency for the Protection and Placement of International Migrant Workers (BNP2TKI) shows that from 2013 to 2018, 462 Indonesian migrant workers died in Malaysia. This is 35% of the total number of deaths of Indonesian migrant workers abroad[3]. 61% of those who died in Malaysia (284 persons) are originally from the East Nusa Tenggara Province (NTT) in Indonesia. In 2018, 95 Indonesian workers died in Malaysia[4].

From January 1st to March 13th, 2019, 28 Indonesian workers from NTT province died in Malaysia due to illness, workplace accidents, alleged tortures, murder and economic negligence. On an average, 3 persons died per week.

We, therefore, urge the Malaysian Government without delay:

  1. To adopt and ratify the 1990 UN Convention on Protection of the migrant workers and their families, ILO Convention 189 on Protection of the domestic workers and the Palermo protocol on prevention and protection of trafficking in persons.
  2. To ensure security, health care, work safety for migrant workers.
  3. To investigate the cases of violence on all migrant workers, especially those coming from NTT province in Indonesia and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Thank you, Mr. President

[1] Survey conducted by Indonesian NGO Migrant Care; see;

[2] The Indonesian migrants overseas in the period of 2013-2018 were 584,482 people, 99% of whom are domestic workers (source: data of Migrant Care).

[3] The total Indonesian workers died abroad in the 2013-2018 period were 1,288 of whom were 462 people died in Malaysia, 224 people in Saudi Arabia, 176 people in Taiwan, 59 people in South Korea, 54 people in Brunei Darussalam and 48 people in Hong Kong. (Source: data from BNP2TKI Statistical)

[4] Data from the Solidarity for Humanity Network for NTT shows that 105 Indonesian migrant workers died abroad in 2018 and 90% of them (95 persons) died in Malaysia