Social & Economic rights

Wednesday, 8 February 2023

Ten years of implementation of the procedure for determining the date and place of birth

Ten years ago, thousands of people who were not registered in birth registry books lived in Serbia. Due to not being registered in birth registry books, these citizens were not able to obtain even an identity card or any other personal document, and were therefore prevented from accessing most other rights. The problem of not having personal documents mainly affected - and still affects - the Roma population: persons who are not registered in birth registry books are almost exclusively members of the Roma national minority.

Nevertheless, after many years of persistent public advocacy to solve this problem, primarily by UNHCR and Praxis, and informing the competent authorities about the unsustainable situation, along with numerous recommendations from international bodies, which told Serbia that it was necessary to take measures for solving this problem, in mid-2012, a step that would play a key role in the fight against statelessness in Serbia was finally taken. The Law on Non-Contentious Procedure was amended by adding certain provisions that introduced in the legal system of Serbia a new kind of procedure - procedure for determining the date and place of birth. This procedure brought a solution for persons who were not registered in birth registry books, and who could not exercise their right to registration in the procedure before registry offices. Owing to this procedure, in the following years, hundreds and even thousands of people were able to register in birth registry books and obtain personal documents for the first time in their lives, and then to exercise other rights: to register their children in birth registry books, exercise the right to health care and social protection, get the opportunity to go to school, get a job, travel, take a driving test.

We are publishing this report 10 years after the introduction of the procedure for determining the date and place of birth with the desire to show how important it was to establish such a procedure, to present its effects on reducing the number of undocumented persons, but also to point to the problems that have accompanied its application.

This report gives a detailed overview of the situation before the adoption of the Law on Amendments to the Law on Non-Contentious Procedure. It also presents the basic rules of the procedure for determining the date and place of birth, certain irregularities and problems that usually occur during these procedures, as well as the circumstances that hinder its application. Finally, the report presents the available statistical data and provides an assessment of the importance of this procedure.

This report shows that even though the procedure for determining the date and place of birth has already contributed a lot to the reduction of the number of undocumented persons, it still fulfils its purpose and for a large number of citizens represents a path to registration in birth registry books, which allows them to exercise other rights as well. That is why it is important to ensure acting in compliance with the law and to remove obstacles that undermine the implementation of this procedure.

 

You can download the report HERE.

Read 2903 times
Tagged under
Praxis means action
Praxis means action
Praxis means action
Praxis means action