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 memorandum from Indonesia’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs also emerged instructing Chan Recruitment Agency (Erwiana’s original agency) to shoulder the expenses of her return to the city last week. Erwiana’s requested to stay in NGO provided accommodation but was made to stay at the Indonesian consulate until finally being released yesterday.
Accepting assistance from the Indonesian government or the original agency presents as obvious conflict. In a press statement, a Justice for Eriwana Committee spokesperson, Cynthia Abdon-Tellez, said it would be “unethical and imprudent to accept assistance from the agency that may have played a big role in putting her in the situation she experienced while she was working in Hong Kong.”
Campaigners fear Indonesia may be attempting to control the narrative as an ‘isolated incident’ in order to minimise bad publicity and prevent any challenge to existing rules surrounding migrant workers. Hong Kong authorities may have also enabled an obvious conflict in that Erwiana may choose to sue the consulate further down the line.
The Indonesian government were heavily involved in supporting a similar case of helper abuse last year. Kartika Puspitasari escaped months of horrifying torture at the hands of her employers, who she successfully sued. She has since been under the care of the consulate in Causeway Bay. Neither the law nor the rules which enabled Kartika’s abuse were challenged.
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- You can write to the Indonesian and Hong Kong authorities about this case via the Asian Human Rights Commission.
Mission For Migrant Workers (MFMW) is receiving donations on the Jusitce Committee’s behalf – contributions will cover costs of events in Hong Kong to highlight her plight…
Click ‘donate’ and enter any amount in HK$. Click ‘pay with credit card’ if you do not have a PayPal account. For other methods of donation, click here and indicate your contribution is ‘for Erwiana Committee’.