Justice Without Borders aims to make it possible for migrant workers to seek legal help for whatever happened to them wherever it happened, regardless of where they move.
In this year’s Indonesian mentorship cycle, JWB partnered with organizations intent on strengthening their paralegals’ casework skills for cross-border access to justice. Titled Program AKSES in Indonesian, the partnership also sought to empower mentees to share their newfound knowledge with both their colleagues and their local communities.
ILO’s support in promoting sustainable knowledge transfer locally
JWB has become an implementing partner of a new UN regional initiative promoting safe and fair labour migration for all women in the ASEAN region. This programme is implemented through a partnership between ILO and UN Women, under the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative. Given most of JWB’s clients are women workers, our work aligns well with Safe and Fair.
“Safe and Fair is keen to support JWB in bringing forward the voices of women migrant workers through public engagement to ensure that their voices are heard, as well as to empower them in sharing their knowledge and experiences with policymakers, civil society and other migrant workers,” said Deepa Bharathi, the Chief Technical Advisor of Safe and Fair.
ILO’s funding enabled JWB to implement an intensive year-long programme for paralegals in local frontline organisations. “In contrast to short-term training programmes, this project promotes sustainable development of legal case management skills and legal resource network building that will be immediately usable at participants’ home institutions,” Deepa said.
Local frontliners making an impact in their communities
Seven community organizations are participating in Program AKSES, together covering several major sending areas in Indonesia. Among them is SERUNI, a grassroots women’s organization that advocates for gender equality, women’s access to labour rights.
“While we have fulfilled some organizational missions along the way, we can still see a lot of migrant domestic workers (MDWs) struggling alone fighting for their rights. Due to lacking financial support, most would just give up halfway,” said Narsidah, the Secretary of SERUNI.
She continued, “we are happy that JWB facilitated the training we needed. Generally, short trainings do not provide any follow-up sessions that are needed. In Program AKSES, they have provided us with all the required tools for cross-border litigation, along with knowledge around migrant worker issues. There is always homework, discussions, and plans after each session.” The program also allows SERUNI to gain connections to other support organizations, helping them to build stronger networks to serve their communities in the future.
Moving forward, Narsidah encourages members to attend local events, to speak as mentors and to actively contribute to the knowledge transfer in nearby villages.
Legal partners sharing their expertise
Tarsis Halilintar, also known as Pak Hali, is JWB’s long term pro bono partner and one of the mentors in Program AKSES. He is an experienced lawyer from our partner law firm, Ginting Reksodiputro, in association with Allen & Overy.
“Based on the discussion with the JWB team in Jakarta, there are two main challenges for most of the migrant worker cases. One is lacking the knowledge of their own rights, the other is lacking documentation and evidence,” Pak Hali explained. “It should not be the case that their lives depend on whether they are lucky to have a good employer. It should be taken for granted that the contractual arrangement they are getting is honoured.”
“We want these frontline organizations, who are the ones directly communicating with the migrant workers, to become knowledgeable of not only regulations, but what the role is of each stakeholder involved as well,” he added.
Having a wealth of knowledge to share, Pak Hali wished the training session could be sometimes longer than 2-3 hours. While Covid required online sessions, he looked forward to meet the mentees in person. “At some point we talked about the idea of us going to Central Java to meet them. That’s before Covid. It’s a good idea to actually meet them in person and to involve the associate here in our office too”
Power up with our allies
Program AKSES is an example of how important having the right partners sharing the same values are to creating last impact. We thank our funders, participating organizations and mentors for their continuous support and for sharing our voice.
The PowerUp Campaign features how JWB scales up its impact through building capacity with our allies. Our partners, including mentors, mentees, funders and frontline organization leaders, came together to share their experiences in our capacity building programs. We also look ahead to how we continue to scale up our impact to ensure that access to justice is as mobile as migrant workers.