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Indonesians rescue stranded workers

Activists raise case to bring people home from Saudi Arabia

Activists stage rally protesting abuses against migrant workers Activists stage rally protesting abuses against migrant workers
  • Konradus Epa, Jakarta
  • Indonesia
  • January 13, 2011
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The Indonesian bishops’ Interreligious Affairs Commission is working with Jakarta NGOs to raise funds to assist stranded migrant workers living under a bridge in Saudi Arabia.

The groups aim to raise 1.7 billion rupiah (about US$190,000) from people in public places, churches and mosques to help the Indonesian workers forced to seek shelter under the Kandara Bridge in Jeddah.

About 100 activists sought donations from passers by during the Jan. 12 “1,000 Rupiah Fund Raising Program” at the Bundaran Hotel Jakarta.

“To reach our goal, we need 1.7 million people to donate 1,000 rupiah each,” said Anis Hidayah, executive director of Migrant Care.

Mosques and churches will also participate in the fundraising campaign.

“We will collect money after Muslims and Christians finish their prayer meetings respectively on Friday and Sunday,” Anis explained.

Up to 200 Indonesian migrant workers are currently living under the Kandara Bridge after experiencing problems including expulsion by their employers.

Others are forced to sleep in open fields using newspapers for bedding.

“They have to beg in the streets because they need money,” Anis said.

She rejected accusations by the Saudi Arabian government that the Indonesian migrant workers opt to live under the bridge in order to obtain free plane tickets home.

Anis also criticized the Indonesian government for failing to address the migrant workers’ problems.

“There is no diplomatic effort to bring them back,” she said.

She added that funds raised in the program will be donated to the Foreign Affairs Ministry to help in bringing the migrant workers back to Indonesia.

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