Residents in Remote Areas Still Struggle to Obtain Proper Civil Status

Mirna and her friends in South Central Timor, East Nusa Tenggara, on Friday (04/05). (JG Photo / Yudha Baskoro)

By : JG | on 12:40 PM May 16, 2018
Category : Eyewitness, Multimedia, Photos

Soe, East Nusa Tenggara. For people living in remote villages of East Nusa Tenggara, basic civil registration requires a costly, hours-long journey to the district capital. Many never embark on it.

Millions of Indonesian children are not registered, which means that their names and rights as citizens are not officially recognized or counted. According to data from the Ministry of Home Affairs, more than 11 million, or 15 percent of those below the age of 18, do not have birth certificates.

According to Plan International, nearly 80 percent of children in East Nusa Tenggara did not have their birth certificates in 2015.

Plan International is a development and humanitarian organization working in over 70 countries, which focuses on advancing children's rights and equality for girls.

South Central Timor has around 488,000 residents, living in 266 villages. To reach the farthest one takes between six and seven hours by car. Public transportation is scarce.

"Our topography varies greatly, so it's difficult for some residents to go to the district capital and take care of their documents. But we've been trying to address this issue with a jemput bola system," said Semuel Fallo, head of the South Central Timor Citizenship and Civil Records Agency (Dukcapil).

A team of 19 officers is now traveling from village to village to provide civil registration services free of charge.

Plan International, which has been present in East Nusa Tenggara since 2016, said the service proves effective, also in terms of raising awareness about the importance of civil registration, which is essential to prevent manipulations that may lead to exploitation and human trafficking.

The province, although making strides in providing its residents with proper documentation, is still the most-trafficked area of the country, with most undocumented children ending up somewhere in Java.

Mirna, 14, a junior high school student in South Central Timor, East Nusa Tenggara, lives in a remote area that is a 2-hour drive from the district capital.(JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro) Mirna, 14, a junior high school student in South Central Timor, East Nusa Tenggara, lives in a remote area that is a 2-hour drive from the district capital.(JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

Mirna's parents, like many in the province, do not understand the full benefits of receiving proper documentation for themselves and their children. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro) Mirna's parents, like many in the province, do not understand the full benefits of receiving proper documentation for themselves and their children. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

To get a scholarship to attend senior high school in Kupang, Mirna needs to first obtain a birth certificate. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro) To get a scholarship to attend senior high school in Kupang, Mirna needs to first obtain a birth certificate. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

Mirna asks for a show of hands for who among her class still does not have a birth certificate. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro) Mirna asks for a show of hands for who among her class still does not have a birth certificate. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

The only accessible road to Mirna's Village in South Central Timor. A key impediment preventing the government from providing documentation to residents in the area is harsh topographical conditions. (JG Photo / Yudha Baskoro) The only accessible road to Mirna's Village in South Central Timor. A key impediment preventing the government from providing documentation to residents in the area is harsh topographical conditions. (JG Photo / Yudha Baskoro)

According to Plan International, nearly 80 percent of children in East Nusa Tenggara did not have their birth certificates in 2015. (JG Photo / Yudha Baskoro) According to Plan International, nearly 80 percent of children in East Nusa Tenggara did not have their birth certificates in 2015. (JG Photo / Yudha Baskoro)

The government and Plan also reach out to schools and religious leaders to promote birth registration as necessary for obtaining citizenship and legal protection. (JG Photo / Yudha Baskoro) The government and Plan also reach out to schools and religious leaders to promote birth registration as necessary for obtaining citizenship and legal protection. (JG Photo / Yudha Baskoro)

Mirna on her way to obtain her birth ceriticate on Friday (04/05) (JG Photo / Yudha Baskoro) Mirna on her way to obtain her birth ceriticate on Friday (04/05) (JG Photo / Yudha Baskoro)

Mirna finally registering for her birth certificate thanks to a new government initiative that travels to remote areas in the province. (JG Photo / Yudha Baskoro) Mirna finally registering for her birth certificate thanks to a new government initiative that travels to remote areas in the province. (JG Photo / Yudha Baskoro)

Mirna receiving her birth certificate, 14 years after her birth. (JG Photo / Yudha Baskoro) Mirna receiving her birth certificate, 14 years after her birth. (JG Photo / Yudha Baskoro)

Proper documentation prevents data exploitation and child trafficking. The government is making headway in providing civil registry services to the most remote areas of the country. (JG Photo / Yudha Baskoro) Proper documentation prevents data exploitation and child trafficking. The government is making headway in providing civil registry services to the most remote areas of the country. (JG Photo / Yudha Baskoro)


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