Social & Economic rights

Friday, 24 December 2021

When the Registry Office Refuses to Register the Child's Name

Lamija Selimi [1] was born in November 2019 in the Clinical and Hospital Centre Zvezdara. At the time of her birth, her mother Leonora [1] did not possess personal documents and therefore was unable to determine her daughter’s personal name after her birth. This is why she had to initiate a procedure for determining her daughter’s personal name before the guardianship authority.

A procedure for determining the child's personal name was initiated before the Social Welfare Centre Palilula, and a decision was issued in March 2020. By this decision, the registrar of Zvezdara Municipality was ordered to register Lamija’s name and surname in birth registry books. However, despite the obligation to implement the final decision of the Social Welfare Centre, the Registry Office Zvezdara has not complied with that obligation nearly two years later, leaving Lamija Selimi without a personal name registered in birth registry books.

In June 2021, the staff of the Registry Office Zvezdara told her father that they would not be able to issue a birth certificate for the child until her mother Leonora received an ID card. After that, Praxis helped them to submit a written request for the issuance of a birth certificate, but neither the requested document was issued nor any response was received, despite the fact that an emergency letter had been sent to the registry office.

Leonora was born in Italy, and in 2020 she conducted the procedure of registration in the birth registry books of Serbia. However, she has not been able to register her permanent residence in Serbia and obtain an ID card. In mid-2021, Leonora, helped by Praxis, submitted a request for the registration of permanent residence in the Police Station Palilula.

Leonora’s permanent residence registration has not yet been approved, due to which she cannot obtain an ID card, while her daughter Lamija Selimi, due to the illegal actions of the registry office, remains unregistered nearly two years after the Social Welfare Centre Palilula adopted a decision on determining her personal name. This not only violates Leonora’s right to registration in birth registry books and the right to personal name, but also deprives her of many other rights that cannot be exercised without a birth certificate, including the right to health care and social protection.

This example once again shows why it is important to systematically resolve the issue of registration in birth registry books immediately after birth, as provided by international conventions, the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia and the Law on Family.


[1] These are not their real names.

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