Praxis Watch

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Praxis Requests that Birth Registration Immediately after Birth Is Available to Every Child

Praxis sent these appeals because, there are still children born in Serbia who cannot get registered in the birth registry in cases when the mothers of these new-born children do not possess personal documents. In such situations, birth registration of children is not possible due to restrictive provisions of two by-laws which regulate the procedure for birth notification and registration in the birth registry. Thus, the Instruction on administering registry books and forms of registry books and the Rulebook on the procedure for the issuance of birth notification and form of the issuance of birth notification in a health care institution do not envisage the possibility of birth registration of new-born children in cases when the mothers do not possess documents.

Since the Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government and the Minister of Health are responsible for the adoption and amendments to these regulations, Praxis addressed them with the appeals to amend the disputable provisions and, in this way, to prevent the occurrence of new cases of legally invisible persons. In the stated appeals, Praxis has emphasised that the current situation represents the severe violation of the right of the child to birth registration immediately after birth, which is also guaranteed by the ratified international conventions and Serbian Constitution and law. A significant number of international organizations and treaty bodies have also recognized that the current situation is not satisfactory and provided recommendations to Serbia to resolve this problem.

A year ago, Praxis already sent an appeal to the Ministry for Public Administration and Local Self-Government for amendments of regulations. However, the Ministry responded that the normative framework enabled every person to be registered in the birth registry book, neglecting the fact that children whose mothers did not possess documents would not be able to get registered immediately after birth and that additional, often long-lasting procedures would have to be conducted for them. The fact that such situation represents the violation of the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child is also confirmed by UNICEF interpretation according to which the registration “immediately after birth” implies the deadline of several days, rather than months. 

This problem in Serbia almost exclusively affects the members of Roma ethnic minority, because there is still a number of persons among this population who do not possess personal documents. In this way, their already difficult position is additionally aggravated and the marginalization and deprivation of rights only intensified.

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Praxis means action
Praxis means action
Praxis means action
Praxis means action