Minister discusses dual citizenship issue with expats in Switzerland

London (ANTARA News) - Minister of Law and Human Rights Yasonna Laoly discussed the issue of dual citizenship during a meeting with the Indonesian people and diaspora at the Indonesian Embassy building in Bern, Switzerland.

The meeting that was attended by 50 invited participants, representing 50 community organizations, said the representative for the Indonesia Kindness Movement, Eva Reinhard, to ANTARA in London, Thursday.

Indonesian Ambassador for the Swiss Confederation and Principality of Liechtenstein Madame Linggawati Hakim opened the discussion as she expressed her gratitude towards the Minister for his presence and for directly meeting the Indonesian people in between his work visit to attend the 56th World Intellectual Property Organization General Assembly in Geneva.

Along with the delegates from the Ministry, Intellectual Wealth Director General Professor Ahmad M Ramli, Branding Director Fathlurachman and Director of Information Technology Yasmon and the honorable consultant for the Minister Ian Siagian also attended the event.

During the meeting, Minister Yasonna revealed developments in Indonesia, including the positive growth in a number of sectors and the need for reformation in some fields, including law and justice enforcement, law-abiding culture and law reform.

In order to sustain Indonesias economy for improvement, infrastructure needs to be enhanced as it will accelerate distribution, connectivity and deregulation.

Dual citizenship became an interesting topic for discussion at the meeting, especially when the minister gave the participants opportunities to ask questions regarding the issue.

Other than the dual citizenship cases of former Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Arcandra Tahar and the Independence Day flag-raising team member Gloria Natapradja Hammel, there are other cases that urge the government to soon validate dual citizenship status.

One of the common situations in which dual citizenship issues crop up is when a marriage between a foreigner and an Indonesian ends in a divorce, it will leave the children unprotected, as there are no bilateral agreements between Indonesia and other countries that offer full protection towards Indonesian passport holders in international law.

The government and the House of Representatives have been urged to adjust to global developments and competitiveness on the international stage.

The minister was of the view that this is where the role of the Indonesian people, who live overseas, is needed.

As ambassadors to the nation, they have the ability to execute soft diplomacy in various fields, presenting a good image of the country on the international stage.

Eva from the Indonesia Kindness Movement said there is a common misconception among the public that Indonesians, who switch their passports to match the country they reside in are traitors to the nation and that they lack in nationalism.

"On the contrary, we have an even higher sense of nationalism that we implement into our daily life to elevate Indonesias image in the country we stay in. Much like what had previously been said by former President BJ Habibie, a sense of nationalism cannot be determined solely on the basis of a passport," she pointed out.

To accommodate the wish of Indonesian nationals overseas, the Ministry of Law and Human Rights has temporarily referred to the Presidential Law number 26 of 2016 as the replacement for the Presidential Law number 31 of 2016, in which five years residential period and multiple entries are offered.

A discussion on the implementation of a Ministerial Law will soon be carried out and the law itself will be signed, as a transitional measure until the discussion on dual citizenship issues reach a final decision.(*)