Birth Registration Right From the Start (2-2)

Haffiya Elyas

“Children have the right to a legally registered name and nationality. Children also have the right to know their parents and, as far as possible, to be cared for by them.” Article 7 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

National laws in Sudan such as the Child Act (2010) and Civil Registry Act (2011, article 20) also require children to be registered to facilitate their access to services.

Article 5 (E) of the Child Act (2010) emphasizes the right to a name and a nationality and it states that:

“The State shall guarantee all the lawful rights of the Child, in particular, his right to prove his affinity and his right to life and growth, the name, nationality, breastfeeding, custody, clothing and accommodation, and his right to education and care of his conditions, following the provisions of the law;”

Moreover, the 2014 Sudan Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) report indicated that 59% of children in Sudan were registered in 2010, but in 2014, the national birth registration rate went up to 67.3 percent. The same data found that in South Kordofan state, birth registration is at 61.2%.

The National Council for Child Welfare (NCCW) launched the national media campaign to register births under the slogan (Register your child, protect their rights) under the auspices of the Minister of Welfare and Social Development and the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning in coordination with the Federal Ministry of Health and the Civil Registration Department and collaboration with UNICEF.

Secretary-General of the National Council for Child Welfare NCCW, Dr.Adul Qadir Abu called upon parents and communities to register their Children to Protect Children’s rights.

According to UNICEF, birth registration is the only legal way for a child to get a birth certificate.

This legal proof of identity can help protect children from violence, abuse, and exploitation. Without a birth certificate, children are unable to prove their age, which puts them at a much higher risk of being forced into early marriage or the labor market or recruited into armed forces.

It can also help protect migrant and refugee children against family separation, trafficking, and illegal adoption. Without it, these children are at a much higher risk of statelessness, meaning they do not have legal ties to any country, including a nationality.

The Director of the Civil Registry in West Darfur confirmed that the Civil Registry Department has developed an integrated plan to work to raise the rate of birth registration in the state by directing mobile teams to the localities to bring the service closer and facilitate the movement of citizens.

Without a birth certificate, many children can’t get routine vaccines and other healthcare services. They may be unable to attend school or register for exams. As a result, their future job opportunities are extremely limited, which makes them more likely to live in poverty.

In young adulthood, children will need this official identification for basic but important transactions like opening a bank account, registering to vote, getting a passport, entering the formal job market, buying or inheriting property, or receiving social assistance.

The Director of the Financial and Administrative Affairs Department in East Darfur State said that the Ministry is in the process of developing the necessary plans and strategies to address all the challenges facing birth registration in the state, calling on the executive directors to make efforts in their localities.

The birth registration environment in Sudan is mature but confused. A study was undertaken on the birth registration practices in Sudan to ascertain the causes and effects of low birth registration. The registration of births is not improved with time, there is no progressive procedure in the registration application, and the registration system effect according to sex ratio, the number of women in the reproductive age (MWRA), and several health facilities.

The overall situation of birth registration in the country is characterized by limited coverage and unclear coordination between institutions both at central and local levels; and some geographic and financial barriers and birth registrations affect the number of women in the reproductive age (MWRA), number of health unit which provides registration services and sex ratio. To improve the birth registration environment in Sudan, first, increase awareness of the importance of birth registration; secondly, birth registration infrastructure of capacity building support is needed at all levels of the birth registration system.

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