Monthly Archives: April 2014


NEWS – Indonesian Authorities Pressured Erwiana to Accept Gov’t Lawyer & Help From Agency

The Justice for Eriwana Committee has confirmed that the Indonesian authorities pressured her to switch lawyers and accept a government provided legal counsel. Shortly before her return to Hong Kong for a medical report, Erwiana was asked to revoke the power of attorney given to her current lawyer in Java. She resisted intimidation and has retained legal provided by the Yogyakarta Legal Aid Institute in Indonesia and Melville Boase in Hong Kong.

A letter from the Indonesian authorities translated by NGOs – point 4 refers to switching power of attorney.


PRESS RELEASE: “Shocking” Actions by HK Authorities a “Conflict of Interests” – Lawyer

In a statement, Hong Kong barrister-at-law Robert Tibbo has commented on the actions of the Hong Kong authorities this evening stating that “the circumstances of Erwiana’s return to Hong Kong are nothing less than shocking”. Mr Tibbo is legal advisor to the HK Helpers Campaign and also advised Edward Snowden during his visit to Hong Kong last year. Today, he spoke of a potential conflict of interests regarding the actions of the authorities…

“With Erwiana’s right to sue the Hong Kong government for breaches of Articles 3 (Torture) and 4 (Slavery) of the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance, Cap. 383, and in light of the respective Hong Kong Immigration and Police Department threatening and oppressive conduct of today, Erwiana should have absolute minimal necessary contact with the Hong Kong government aside from the Prosecutor in criminal proceedings instituted against her former employer.”

Erwiana accompanied by officials at HK's airport,

Erwiana accompanied by officials at HK’s airport, via Straits Times

“The respective Hong Kong and Indonesian government interests are clearly adverse to Erwiana’s rights and interests. This is case where Erwiana would be best protected by having Hong Kong lawyers stand between her and the respective Indonesian and Hong Kong governments so that the abuses of today are brought to an immediate stop. This would effectively remove the conflict of interests that exists between Erwiana and Hong Kong and Indonesian authorities”


NEWS – Police & Indonesian Consulate Detain Erwiana Upon Return to HK

Update: “Shocking” Actions by HK Authorities a “Conflict of Interests” says Lawyer.

Erwiana, the Indonesian helper who was allegedly tortured for 8-months by her Hong Kong employer, has been taken against her wishes to the Indonesian consulate after returning to the city this afternoon. Erwiana is visiting Hong Kong for a medical report related to her case. Last week, she accepted an offer of secure accommodation from the NGOs who have been assisting her. She initially resisted police efforts to take her to the consulate but was separated from her father and complied with the Hong Kong authorities after they threatened to deport her.

Eman at Hong Kong Airport

Eman and Sringatin from the Justice Committee speaks to journalists, via SCMP’s @JoannaChiu on Twitter

There were tense scenes and a heavy police presence as Justice for Erwiana Committee members gathered to greet her at the airport chanting “shame on the Indonesian authorities“. As a free, Indonesian citizen, who is not under investigation, Erwiana would normally be entitled to visit the city as a tourist for 30 days.

Activists, reporters and police gathered in Causeway Bay at the Indonesian consulate, where Erwiana arrived just before 6pm.


ARTICLE – As Erwiana Visits HK, How Do We Prevent Torture Occurring Again?

vph3qyV.png (209×266)Holly Carlos Allan is the manager of Helpers for Domestic Helpers, an excellent non-profit that provides free advice and assistance to domestic workers. As Erwiana is due to visit the city next week for a medical report, Holly discusses the recent abuse cases and what needs to change.

I don’t know about you, but I find the comment of police commissioner Andy Tsang Wai-hung that the annual average of 30-40 cases of wounding and serious assault of domestic workers means they are “very rare”, quite chilling. One case is one too many, forty should be alarming.

The two recent cases of seriously abused Indonesian domestic workers, Kartika Puspitasari and Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, raised questions as to how many similar instances have gone unreported. While I believe that most employers in Hong Kong are reasonable, as someone who works for an organisation that provides advice and assistance to domestic workers, I can tell you that the tragedy of Kartika and Erwiana are by no means isolated cases.

One should also ask whether Erwiana would have had a chance at seeking justice if her case was not reported by the media and did not receive International coverage. Numerous such cases dealt with by my organisation have languished in obscurity as the victims decided to abandon their complaints due to police indifference and because they could not afford to stay in Hong Kong without a job as their cases drag on.Holly Carlos Allan is the manager of Helpers for Domestic Helpers, an excellent non-profit that provides free advice and assistance to domestic workers. As Erwiana is due to visit the city next week for a medical report, Holly discusses the recent abuse cases and what needs to change.

I don’t know about you, but I find the comment of police commissioner Andy Tsang Wai-hung that the annual average of 30-40 cases of wounding and serious assault of domestic workers means they are “very rare”, quite chilling. One case is one too many, forty should be alarming.

The two recent cases of seriously abused Indonesian domestic workers, Kartika Puspitasari and Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, raised questions as to how many similar instances have gone unreported. While I believe that most employers in Hong Kong are reasonable, as someone who works for an organisation that provides advice and assistance to domestic workers, I can tell you that the tragedy of Kartika and Erwiana are by no means isolated cases.

One should also ask whether Erwiana would have had a chance at seeking justice if her case was not reported by the media and did not receive International coverage. Numerous such cases dealt with by my organisation have languished in obscurity as the victims decided to abandon their complaints due to police indifference and because they could not afford to stay in Hong Kong without a job as their cases drag on.