Govt to allow dual citizenship
M. Taufiqurrahman, The Jakarta Post
There is good news for Indonesians with foreign spouses, with a provision in the citizenship bill allowing for dual citizenship of their offspring until the latter reaches adulthood.
The bill, expected to be passed soon, also would do away with differentiation between "indigenous" and "nonindigenous" Indonesians -- long cited as discriminatory by Chinese-Indonesians.
An article in the bill's latest draft, which was made available to The Jakarta Post
, stipulates that dual citizenship is allowed for children of transnational marriages, as well as for children of Indonesian couples born in countries that apply the principle of ius soli ("right of soil").
Countries with ius soli principles, such as the United States, automatically give citizenship to anyone born in the country.
Indonesia currently uses the ius sanguinis ("right of the blood") principle, which means that children born here receive the citizenship of their father.
Indonesian women married to foreign nationals are barred from passing their citizenship to their children, which leads to considerable costs entailed in immigration processing and also schooling in international schools required by their foreign status.
The children will be required to choose their citizenship at the age of 18. Although there had been calls for an age requirement of 23, members of the House formulating team said the former figure was in accordance with the definition of minors under the Child Protection Law.
Advocates of transnational marriages complain that the 1958 Citizenship Law, passed during a period of heightened nationalistic fervor, discriminates against their children.
Another breakthrough for people of foreign descent is the near eradication of distinctions between indigenous and nonindigenous residents, which often was used in the bureaucracy and public against Chinese-Indonesians.
Although one article still uses the term indigenous and people from different nationalities, lawmakers and the government have agreed on a provision defining an Indonesian citizen as one who never purposely assumes foreign citizenship.
The bill also orders the passing of a transitional regulation that will enable nonindigenous people to apply for Indonesian citizenship. The transitional period lasts three years from the time the law takes effect.
There also will be severe punishment and heavy fines for state officials who hamper the citizenship process for foreigners.
A member of the House formulating team, Cyprianus Aoer, lauded the rehashed bill as "revolutionary" progress in eradicating discrimination in the country.
"However, it remains to be seen whether the government, especially the bureaucracy, will be ready to implement such a revolutionary law, given the deeply entrenched discriminatory practices," he told the Post.
Wahyu Susilo of the Indonesian Anti-Discrimination Movement (Gandi) also applauded the provision for dual citizenship.
"It is enough for the present situation," he said.
Will it ever happen??,.I don't think so,.this Govt. is very good at NATO