Presently the rate of birth registration in Bangladesh is around 7 to 10 per cent. The Government is attempting with the help of partners such as UNICEF and Plan Bangladesh to lift that figure substantially with its Universal Birth Registration strategy.
Rural Development and Cooperatives Adviser, Mohammed Anwarul Iqbal, formally declared the first Birth Registration Day at a ceremony held in the Osmani Memorial Hall in the capital this morning.
“Birth registration is now compulsory to get 16 basic services for every citizen. A birth certificate serves as a legal age verification document acknowledging the individual’s existence and status before the law, thus establishing every person’s right to an identity,” said Anwarul Iqbal
A year ago today on 3 July 2006, the Births and Deaths Registration Act came into force, allowing for free birth registration until 2 July 2008. The Act requires a birth certificate to be used as proof of age for a number of essential services such as enrolment in educational facilities and the voter’s list, and for obtaining a passport/driving licence.
“In a country where 82 per cent of the population lives on less than $2 a day, the cost of everything is important. That’s why we need to explain loudly and widely that birth registration is free until mid 2008,” said Rosella Morelli, UNICEF Bangladesh Deputy Representative.
The Universal Birth Registration Strategy provides for the registration of 0-1 year old children through immunization services and the registration of children enrolled in primary and secondary education through their respective education institutions. Moreover, the Election Commission has agreed to provide its database to local government institutions for birth registration purposes.
In addition, it also becomes a means of securing other rights such as access to services and state benefits such as: immunization, health care and education. For children, it becomes a protection tool through legal age limits such as in employment, child marriage, commercial sexual exploitation, children in conflict with the law and child trafficking. This data is also crucial for social development planning, policy and budget decisions, becoming a fundamental step towards good governance, which fosters democratic processes.
The meeting was also attended by M. Edward Thomas Espey, Country Director, Plan Bangladesh and chaired by the Secretary Mr. Safar Raj Hossain, Local Govt. Division.
The birth registration project is supported by the European Commission and the Government of Netherlands.
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, Please Contact:
Shafiqul Islam, Project Director (DS-WS), Birth Registration Project, Local Government Division
Arifa S. Sharmin, Communication Officer, UNICEF, Dhaka, +8802 9336701-10/Ext. 442, email@example.com