Monday, August 30, 2004

Black May 1998: 6th Commemoration (30 of 40)

SKBRI unnecessary if Chinese-Indonesians have birth certificate: Minister

Surabaya, East Java, Aug. 11, 2004 (Antara): Indonesians of Chinese descent no longer need a certificate of Indonesian citizenship (SBKRI) if they have a birth certificate, Minister of Justice and Human Rights Yusril Ihza Mahendra said here on Wednesday.

"The SBKRI is only for foreigners who enter Indonesia for the first time and not for their offspring. It is unnecessary for Indonesians who have an identity card, a driving license and other kinds of certificate. There are 24 kinds of certificate besides the SBKRI," he said.

Yusril made the statement during a meeting with 30 members of the National Unity Communication Forum (FKKB), led by chairman Eko Sugitario.

The government did not discriminate against Chinese Indonesians, the minister said, stressing that the certificate of Indonesian citizenship was imposed after Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong declared in 1949 that all Chinese people, whether or not they lived in mainland China, remained Chinese citizens.

The Indonesian government issued the SBKRI to prevent Chinese people in Indonesia from having double citizenship, he said, adding that Indonesians of other descent would also be asked by the immigration office to show a certificate of Indonesian citizenship if they did not have an identity card.

Yusril said Chinese-Indonesians should show their birth certificate or an identity card if immigration officials ask them to present a certificate of Indonesian citizenship.

Chinese Indonesians could inform the police of unscrupulous immigration officers who insisted on seeing the certificate of Indonesian citizenship, the minister said.

The FKKB has lodged a strong protest against continued reliance on the SBKRI with the immigration office in East Java province, stating that it went against Presidential Decree No 56/1996, which scrapped the certification of Indonesian citizenship.

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