Protect all citizens is the duty of Indonesia as a country, including citizens and students who are abroad. Even so, Indonesia has yet to have the legislations or other regulations that specifically regulate the legal protection of students abroad.
"As we know, the security of Indonesian students abroad sometimes collides with certain situations, such as an international armed conflict. This certainly requires attention," said Mokhammad Ardafillah, students of the Faculty of Law UGM, Wednesday (15/6).
As an example, the armed conflict in Yemen that last for years since 2015 as an internal armed conflict had become an international armed conflict.
As a result of the conflict, thousands of Indonesian citizens in Yemen including Indonesian students had to be evacuated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Therefore, given the political and security situation that is not always conducive, it is necessary for the government of Indonesia to make rules that provide security for students abroad.
Seeing this condition, Mokh Arda along with three colleagues from the Faculty of Law, Elizabeth Regitta W, Yanottama Patria A, and Siti Aan Kumaenah , examine the legal protection of Indonesian students overseas, especially those in countries experiencing armed conflict. This program is part of Student Creativity Program, supervised by Dr. Harry Supriyono.
"It is the obligation of a country to provide protection to the citizens of Indonesia. It is based on the principle of maximum protection, strictly speaking, the principle which determines the government to provide full protection to every citizen under any circumstances both at home and abroad," said Mokh Arda.
To produce a comprehensive study of protection, Arda said that they conducted a research involving Indonesian students studying at Al Aghaff University as respondents. They are students who have returned to Indonesia as well as those who are still in Yemen.
With the help of the Indonesian Students Association (PPI) Hadramout Yemen, they interviewed several speakers that include Chairman of the evacuation of citizens in Yemen, Directorate of Protection of Indonesian Citizens and Legal Entities in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, staff of the Embassy of Yemen in Jakarta, Attaché of Cultural and Education Embassy in Cairo 2008-2013, and lecturer in International Law of Universitas Gadjah Mada.
In conclusion, the legal protection of the citizen and Indonesian legal entities (BHI) abroad is carried out by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, specifically by the Directorate of Protection of Citizens and Legal Entities. The protections provided are the protection as Indonesian Citizens and Legal Entities, legal assistance in civil and criminal matters as well as the employment field, the handling of Citizens and Legal Entities for protection abroad, consulting Citizens and Legal Entities protection abroad, as well as mentoring troubled citizens.
"In addition, ongoing information is given to troubled citizen, and body repatriation assistance to the area of origin," said Mokh Arda.
Another team member, Elisabeth Regitta W, added that the obligation to protect citizens including students actually has been set forth in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, specifically in Article 17. The article states that everyone has the right to legal protection against a wide range of forms of interference, harassment, and attacks.
While the protection of students in times of armed conflict, both nationally and internationally, refers to the provisions of international humanitarian law. International Humanitarian Law divided the subjects into two, namely combatants or targeted groups for attack and civilians who must not be targetted for the attack.
"Students are included in the civilian population so that they should not be the target. However, international humanitarian law gives provision that civilians who actively make attacks would have their status changed, from not to be attacked to to be targetted,” Elisabeth said.