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“Protection for Indonesian citizens and legalentities overseas is one of the priorities of Indonesian foreign policy which is in accordance with the vision and mission of the President of the Republic of Indonesia, which is also the vision of Foreign Affairs Ministry” said RI Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi when opening a Coordination Meeting for the Protection for Indonesian Citizens and Indonesian Legal Aid with the representatives of Citizen Services and other stakeholders at Nusantara Room, Foreign Affairs Ministry of the Republic of Indonesia (17/12).

President Joko Widodo and Vice President Jusuf Kalla have affirmed in their Nawa Ciptaagenda that one of the government’s priorities is Bringing back the country that protects the nation and provides security for citizens through Independent and active foreign policy”. This will bring hope and challenges for the protection for Indonesian citizens, especially overseas. 

Participants included members of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Manpower Ministry, the National Board for the Placement and Protection of Indonesian Overseas Workers(BNP2TKI) and representatives of citizen services from Johor Bahru, Kuala Lumpur, Dubai, Den Haag and Tokyo.

Foreign Minister Retno also underscored the importance of mental revolution for Indonesian diplomats to prioritize service and to side with Indonesian citizens. 

According to Foreign Minister Retno, there are four public services that must be offered by every Indonesian diplomat. Offer friendly service, always smile despite workloads. Offer prompt and efficient service. Be accessible all the time and be accountable, withzero tolerance for corruption.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry has made numerous protection efforts including saving 43 Indonesian citizens from the death penalty this year and saving 90% of Indonesian citizens from conflict areas in Syria. However, there is still much to do, and many ways to improve. 

Presently, the number of Indonesian citizens overseas documented by Indonesian representatives overseas is 4.4 million (October 2014), most of them are Indonesian Overseas Workers (TKI). However, the real total of Indonesian citizens overseas could be 2 or 3 times the figure considering a lot of Indonesian citizens overseas do not report themselves to local Indonesian representatives. During 2014, the number of cases involving Indonesian citizens recorded by Foreign Affairs Ministry numbered15,345 cases.   

The Foreign Affairs Ministry along with BNP2TKI and several stakeholders launched anintegrated database for better protection for Indonesian citizens. With the integrated database, all related institutions will have identical data. Every incoming report to the hotline of the related institutions will be input to the database and can be accessed by all authorized institutions. Cases handled in Indonesia can be accessed by Indonesian representatives overseas and vice versa.

BNP2TKI Head, Nusron Wahid along with Foreign Minister Retno expressed his pride and pleasure on the launch of the integrated database. It is hoped that in the future, the protection of Indonesian citizens can be prompt and efficient. (Source: Dit. PWNI/Dit.Infomed/VKH)