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Improved Civil Status Information for Efficient Public Administration and Generation of Statistics for National Development and MDGs Monitoring in Africa.

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Presentation on theme: "Improved Civil Status Information for Efficient Public Administration and Generation of Statistics for National Development and MDGs Monitoring in Africa."— Presentation transcript:

1 Improved Civil Status Information for Efficient Public Administration and Generation of Statistics for National Development and MDGs Monitoring in Africa 10-12 August 2010 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia The Inclusion of Forcibly Displaced Persons in Civil Registration and Vital Statistics

2 2 Forcibly Displaced Persons  In the last few decades the African continent has witnessed large scale forced displacement of people fleeing persecution, armed conflict or human rights violations. End of 2009: more than 10 million people of concern to UNHCR in Africa (some 2.3 million refugees, 325,000 asylum-seekers, 150,000 returnees, more than 6.3 million IDPs (there are 11.6 million IDPs in Africa) and an estimated 100,000 stateless people.)  Forcibly displaced persons in Africa live in refugee and IDP camps as well as in urban areas, or are trapped in conflict areas increasingly in protracted situations e.g Somali refugees in Kenya; Rwandan refugees in D.R.Congo; Sudanese refugees in neighbouring countries – Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Egypt

3 3 Civil Registration and Forcibly Displaced Persons Forcibly Displaced persons often do not have access to Civil Registration documents. For instance many refugees lack:  Birth Certificates  Marriage and Divorce Certificates  Death Certificates

4 4 Barriers to Civil Registration of forcibly displaced populations  In conflict situations breakdown of infrastructure, insecurity may prevent normal access to Civil Registration.  Physical barriers: lack of services /infrastructure in rural and camp areas.  Economic barriers: registration fees and cost to travel to towns to register.  Lack of awareness of the importance of civil registration.

5 5 Barriers to Civil Registration of forcibly displaced populations  Legal issues: For refugees, absence of laws that allow civil registration for non-nationals.  If not yet recognized as refugees/asylum seekers reluctance to approach civil authorities to register their births, marriages, deaths, etc. due to fear deportation or detention As results of this, UNHCR’s global baseline data from early 2009 reveal that the level of birth registration among the forcibly displaced is unacceptably low. In Africa, out of 70 camps that availed information on birth registration only 33 or 33 per cent systematically registered all newborns.

6 6 Importance of Civil Registration of the forcibly displaced Civil Registration as a means to:  Obtain information and knowledge about the population within national territory to improve State’s administration and governance.  Obtain indicators for the measurement of progress towards the achievement of the MDGs. Displaced persons are an important factor for the achievement of the MDGs.  Determine where to integrate services for host communities and displaced populations to ensure more effective delivery of services.  Facilitate, in the medium and long term, the return of refugee / IDP populations to their areas of origin (e.g. proves family links, may facilitate resolution of land disputes, etc).

7 7 Importance of Civil Registration  Pre-empt / avoid legal disputes which may later come to burden State’s legal system (e.g. inheritance).  Gather information on broader migration issues and seek improved State’s management of migratory movements.  Facilitate people’s access to basic rights: education, health, employment, etc.  To prevent Statelessness.

8 8 Protection risks due to the lack of Civil Registration of forcibly displaced populations  Detention and Deportation.  Denial of access to education, health services and employment.  Prevention from reacquiring property upon return to areas of origin.  Failure to prove age of girls in order to protect them against early marriages and exploitation.  Lack of freedom of movement due to the absence of identification documents.  People remain “Invisible to the Law” and may not benefit from the State’s protection.  Protracted periods without civil documentation placing many at risk of becoming stateless.

9 9 BIRTH REGISTRATION as a protection tool  Birth Registration is an essential child protection tool preventing abuses against children: child labor, early marriage, illegal adoption, sexual exploitation, recruitment into armed forces/group and human trafficking.  Birth Registration is fundamental for the prevention of statelessness: although birth registration does not normally confers nationality it constitutes a key form of proof of the link between an individual and a State and thereby serves to prevent statelessness.

10 10 Birth registration – Legal Instruments  Every child has the right to be registered at birth as recognized inter alia in:  Article 27 of the 1951 Refugee Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees  Article 13 of the 2009 Kampala Convention for the Protection and Assistance of IDPs in Africa  Article 7 of the 1990 Convention on the Rights of the Child  Article 24 paragraph 2 of the International 1966 Covenant on Civil and Political Rights  Article 6 of the African Charter on the 1990 Rights and Welfare of the Child  The UN General Assembly has urged States to intensify efforts in the area of birth registration.

11 11 Birth Registration of refugee children- UNHCR’s initiatives  UNHCR has included as one of its 2010-2011 Global Strategic Priorities the need for individual and civil documentation of refugees, asylum seekers and stateless as an essential protection measure.  Advocacy: In 2007, the Angolan Ministry of Justice, in collaboration with the Jesuit Refugee Service and UNHCR, implemented an awareness raising campaign that resulted in issuance of birth certificates by registration brigades to some 100,000 Angolan returnee children. In addition, education campaigns to sensitize the refugees on the importance of acquiring a birth certificate and the necessary procedures they must follow have been implemented in Ghana and DRC.

12 12 Birth Registration - UNHCR’s initiatives  Technical support to national authorities:  In Kenya (Daadab camp) UNHCR is providing the necessary means for Government officials to go to the camps every month to deliver birth certificates to refugees. oNewborn babies delivered in hospitals provided with Birth Notification. oParents are informed of the next visit of the Civil Registrar to the camp. oUpon visit to Civil Registrar, parents present Birth Notification and apply for Birth Certificate. oFor late registration, applicants fill a Late Registration Form which is signed by local authorities, the doctor and UNHCR confirming the identity of the child. The form is then issued to the Civil Registrar who will process it and issue the Birth Certificate.  In Somalia UNHCR has provided funding in order to reduce the cost of birth certificates and make it more accessible.  A UNHCR Executive Committee Conclusion on Birth Registration is under consideration calling States for the adoption of laws and policies on birth registration that ensure timely and compulsory birth registration for all children within their national territory.

13 13 Recommendations  Adoption of laws and policies to ensure timely and compulsory birth registration for all children, including refugee and IDP children, within the national territory.  Introduction of late registration procedures for those who were not registered immediately at birth, in particular through flexible requirements of proof and without additional fees.  Guarantee of equal access to birth registration for all persons, regardless of nationality, immigration status or marital status of the parents, in particular for children born to single mothers.

14 14 Recommendations  Facilitation of access to civil registration at local level, for example, through mobile registration units, integrating birth registration with other public programmes -such immunization and education campaigns- or waiving of registration fees for all forms of civil registration.  Enhancement of capacities of relevant state and community actors, notably civil registry officials, judges, local authorities, health care and education providers and community leaders.  Cooperation between relevant State entities, United Nations Funds and Programmes (notably UNHCR, UNICEF, UNFPA), development agencies and civil society on the promotion of birth registration and on the recognition of birth attestations issued by these organizations while children are waiting to be officially registered by relevant State authorities.

15 15 Recommendations  Awareness raising of procedures and importance of birth registration, in particular through community outreach programmes that take into consideration potential barriers to registration.  Promotion of exchange of global best practices.


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