Sixteen-year-old Gloria Natapradja Hamel was kicked out of the Independence Day flag-raising team at the State Palace in Central Jakarta in August this year after the military secretariat discovered that she holds a French passport. (Antara Photo/Widodo S. Jusuf)

Flag Raiser Gloria Fights for Rights of Children From Transnational Families

BY :EDO KARENSA

OCTOBER 06, 2016

Jakarta. Gloria Natapradja Hamel, a member of this year's Independence Day flag-raising team, or Paskibraka, has filed a judicial review of Indonesia's citizenship law at the Constitutional Court, seeking to annul a little-known article that can render children from transnational families effectively stateless.

Under the Law No. 12/2006 on citizenship, children from transnational marriage — where the parents are of different nationalities — are allowed to hold dual citizenship until the age of 18.

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After that, they will have three more years to decide they want to be citizens of which country.

However, the law also mentions that children of transnational families who were born before the law was passed must register themselves as Indonesian citizens within four years after the regulation was first enacted, if they want to keep their dual citizenship until they are 18.

Gloria was dismissed from the flag-raising team after the authorities found out she had a French passport. After much public controversy, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo decided to reinstate the 16-year-old girl to the team performing the flag-lowering ceremony in the afternoon of Aug. 17.

Ira Natapradja, Gloria's mother, who is Indonesian, said she was not aware the rules required her to register Gloria as an Indonesian citizen before 2010. Ira claimed the government never told people about the obscure rule.

"What I do know is that Gloria can keep her dual nationality until she's 18 years old. Nobody told me I have to register her as an Indonesian citizen four years after the citizenship law was first enacted," Ira told the Jakarta Globe on Thursday (06/10).

Gloria filed the judicial review seeking to annul Article 41 of the Citizenship Law which mentioned the requirement of the citizenship registration.

"I am actually lucky that I have a French passport. There are thousands of children from transnational families out there who haven't reported themselves to the Justice Ministry and don't have any passport — which means they are actually stateless,” Gloria said.

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