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Saturday, 24 February 2024

Management of ISIS Sympathizers

The government has issued a decision to repatriate Indonesian citizens who are sympathizers of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) aged under 10 years with special provisions (case by case). This is a wise decision, considering that their conditions in the refugee camp are very alarming. In addition, many children have lost their parents.

It also shows the fulfillment of a country’s obligations to its citizens. Our Citizenship Law follows the principle of ius sanguinis (law by blood). A child born to an Indonesian citizen, one of the Indonesian citizens, whether or not the marriage status of a parent is official, and whether born in Indonesia or not, the citizenship status of that child is an Indonesian citizen. This status is inherent until they are 18 years old even though their parents lost their Indonesian citizenship.

Their protection refers to the Foreign Relations Act which requires the government to provide protection and endeavor to repatriate them to Indonesia. In addition, the explanation of the Citizenship Law mentions the matter of the principle of maximum protection, which requires the government to provide full protection to every citizen in any circumstance, both at home and abroad.

The Child Protection Act states that a child is someone who is not yet 18 years old, including children who are still in the womb. The law also mentions 15 categories of children who need special protection, including “children in emergency situations” and “children who are victims of terrorism networks”. In the condition of ISIS sympathizers, two categories were fulfilled. So, the government’s decision that will only repatriate children within certain age limits and conditions needs to be questioned on its basis. Why only them? What about other children?

The child repatriation plan still raises concerns because of the safety factor and exposure to radicalism they have received. Moreover, there were public officials’ statements that generalized, such as mentioning that the eyes of the children of Indonesian citizens in Syria were sharp and as if they wanted to kill. This kind of opinion can be a weapon of rejection when they are sent home later.

Such generalizations put all Indonesian citizens in Syria in the same position and role. Though the role of children in the ISIS group is very diverse. Some of them are used as combatants and tools to support action. But some are traded for marriage with adult combatants.

Based on these differences, their handling is no easier compared to adult ISIS sympathizers. Many things must also be done by the government. Opening communication with the control holders in the relevant area is the first step that must be done immediately so that the government has access to enter the refugee camp area and check the condition of the children, including ascertaining the numbers.

Furthermore, the government must conduct an initial inspection. Make sure how many children are based on sex distribution. How many children still have parents, how many do not. Verify the level of their radicalism. How many children have received paramilitary training, how many have not, and how many children play other roles there? Also do an examination of their physical and psychological.

Sorting categories based on inspection results needs to be done because the handling of them cannot be the same. The government must also determine whether the handling of them will be carried out with a litigation or non-litigation approach.

Government efforts need to be made in coordination based on operational standards regulated under a legal framework. The functions and roles of ministries / agencies in handling must be regulated by good mechanisms. The National Counterterrorism Agency as the coordinating institution must be able to coordinate the creation of neatly arranged and continuous mechanisms, from upstream to downstream. The involvement of ministries / institutions must be clear on their duties. In terms of the budget also must be clear planning, monitoring, and evaluation.

It should also be ensured if they have finished carrying out all processes, where they will be returned. Prepare the family and community who will receive it. Assistance during this reintegration process must also continue to be carried out strictly.

Keep in mind that the child is handled. So, all programs designed must pay attention to child-friendly approaches and fulfillment of children’s rights. But caution is still being paid attention to. Protection assistance for officers in charge must be prepared. This shows that the state does not negate threats to the exposure to radicalism that has been embedded in the child being dealt with or threats that can come from outside.

Last but not least, government political communication must be good. Stigma and rejection in society will be a big challenge for the government. Public officials need to be careful in issuing statements. A communication strategy on this matter must also be prepared because silence does not always bring peace, but it is not always good.

* This article was first posted by Tempo.co on February 12, 2020 and can be found at: https://kolom.tempo.co/read/1308827/penangan-anak-simpatisan-isis/full&view=ok

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