The Jakarta Post
The government must decide who will take care of the orphaned children of Indonesian nationals who joined the Islamic State (IS) movement in Syria when they return to Indonesia, the Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI) has said.
“The government must decide who will get custody of these children when they arrive in Indonesia,” KPAI commissioner Retno Listyarti said on Friday, as quoted by kompas.com.
She added the government was obliged to put the children in the custody of their closest relatives according to Government Regulation (PP) No. 44/2017 on foster care for children.
“If the closest relatives cannot take care of them, the children must be adopted by another family, or put under the state’s custody if no one can take them,” Retno went on to say.
Citing data from the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Mahfud MD previously said that some 689 Indonesians had been identified as IS sympathizers in Syria and Turkey, as well as other countries.
According to the data, some 228 people still hold identification as Indonesian citizens while others do not have proper documents to prove their citizenship. Indonesian authorities have previously suggested that most of the Indonesian IS supporters were women and children.
While asserting that the government banned Indonesian affiliates of IS from returning to Indonesia, President Joko “Jokowi” said the government was mulling a plan to bring home orphans under 10 years old.
“But so far we still don’t know if there are any,” Jokowi said recently.
Retno expressed appreciation for the President’s willingness to bring orphans back to Indonesia, but criticized his decision to limit the age to those under 10 years old.
“According to the 2014 law on child protection, anyone below the age of 18 is considered a child,” Retno said. (hol)