Tempo Interatif reports that 117 children of mixed Indonesian-foreign parentage were officially made Indonesian citizens in a special ceremony presided over by Indonesia's Minister of Justice and Human Rights, Hamid Awaluddin, on Thursday, March 29, 2007.
At that ceremony, Hamid told the Indonesian mothers of the children that, "now, you mothers can now sleep peacefully and not fear that your children might be deported by immigration officers."
The bestowing of Indonesian citizenship was done in accordance with law number 12 of 2006 which formally allows children of mixed Indonesian-foreign parentage to hold dual citizenship until they reach the age of 18 at which time they must choose to either become solely Indonesian nationals or adopt their foreign citizenship.
Prior to the introduction of the new law, children resulting from mixed marriages were automatically assumed to follow the Father's citizenship. Under that system, these children were compelled to organize costly and time consuming temporary stay permits with local immigration departments on an annual basis. What's more, when divorce occurred the Indonesian Mother's custodial rights over her own children was placed in jeopardy. In those instances when the children remained with their Indonesian Mother, she was burdened with organizing costly immigration permits for her "foreign" offspring.
In bestowing Indonesian citizenship on the children in Bali, Hamid said he hoped the children of mixed parentage would now consider Indonesia as their homeland.
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