DILI, TIMOR-LESTE, 22 February 2011 – Children in Timor-Leste get a further boost in claiming their rights with the launch of the National Birth Registration Campaign. Timor-Leste, one of the youngest nations in the world, launched the campaign which runs from 21 to 25 February 2011. It aims to cover over 200,000 children under the age of five who have not yet been registered.
Birth registration is the official recording of the birth of a child by the State. It is a permanent and official record of a child’s existence. To prepare for Timor-Leste’s national campaign, all 442 village (suco) chiefs were trained to fill up the birth notification form.
Records show that in 2003, only 2 out of 10 Timorese children were registered at birth. There has been some improvement since then, with the 2010 Census showing that 5 out of 10 children are now registered at birth. But half of the Timorese children under the age of five are still not being registered.
“The Birth Registration Campaign signifies our Government’s commitment to make each child registered at birth,” said Acting Prime Minister Jose Luis Guterres during the launching ceremony. “This is one of way of ensuring the rights of every Timorese child. We are making birth registration easier for parents.”
The campaign is a signal that the system will make it easier for parents to quickly register their children. All they have to do is go to their respective suco chief for the notification. This system will also help ensure that the poorest, who are usually found in the very remote areas and who will not find time to walk several hours to the capital town to register their children, can now register their children with ease. The suco chief along with the other relevant ministers, faith-based organizations, partners and parents are all playing a crucial role in the birth registration.
“I am confident, that with all of us working together, we will achieve our target of registering almost 200,000 children who are under the age of five who have not yet been registered within 5 days,” said Mr. Jun Kukita, Representative of UNICEF Timor-Leste.
Registration is important to provide children with proof of Timorese identity and ensure that children enroll in school at the right age. It will also help ensure that the Government can plan for basic social services such as schools and health services for every child. With the birth registration, children can also be protected from illegal adoption, child labour, trafficking, unlawful arrests and detention.
To help boost birth registration, five institutions signed a Memorandum of Agreement to help parents on the registration process. These institutions include Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of State Administration, Health, Education and Religious Sector.
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org
For more information, please contact:
Mary Ann Q. Maglipon, Communication Specialist,
Tel + 670-7231103