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Myanmar’s first Birth Registration Week launched

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Free birth certificates are being issued to unregistered children under 5 in a bid to promote children’s rights

Birth registration supports the child’s right to survival, development, protection and participation

Magway, October 2014 – Myanmar’s first Birth Registration Week was launched today at events in Mawlamyine, Magway and Hakha.

The national Birth Registration Week is a collaborative effort by the government ministries of Immigration and Population, National Planning and Economic Development, Health, and Home Affairs, and UNICEF, with financial support from the European Union. It focuses on unregistered children in Chin State, Mon State and Magway Region, building awareness of the importance of birth registration and increasing demand.

“We are now implementing the Birth Registration Week in Myanmar, with the aim of strengthening the birth registration system at every level - central, sub-national, regional and state level.  The long term aim is to achieve a comprehensive civil registration system,” said H.E U Win Myint Deputy Union Minister for Immigration and Population.

“Free and universal birth registration is the first right of the child and a stepping stone to enjoy other rights such as the right to health, education and protection. UNICEF congratulates the Myanmar government for this effort to provide birth certificates to previously unregistered children in the country”, declared Mr Bertrand Bainvel UNICEF Representative to Myanmar.

In the weeks leading up to Birth Registration Week, community theatre performances in Mon and Magway have put the spotlight on birth registration to raise public awareness of the importance of obtaining a birth certificate. In Chin State faith leaders have been engaged in awareness raising activities. Posters and brochures distributed widely urge parents to register their children.

During Birth Registration Week, local officials are working together to identify unregistered children and to issue these children birth certificates.

Possessing a birth certificate enables the fulfilment of a range of children’s rights including access to education and health services.  Knowing a person’s age is central to protecting children from child labour, forcible conscription in armed forces, child marriage and trafficking, and for ensuring children are dealt with appropriately by the justice system.  The existence of a birth certificate supports the tracing and repatriation of children who have been trafficked.
Myanmar has made considerable progress on birth registration, nonetheless around 1.6 million children, that is three out of ten children aged under five years, remain unregistered.
Wide differences across the country are apparent. While most children in Yangon are registered, 76 per cent of children in Chin State, 43 per cent of children in Magway, and 11 per cent of children in Mon State do not possess a birth certificate. Children who are less likely to be registered include children of migrants and children who do not live with their parents.

Since January 2013, UNICEF Myanmar has collaborated with the government of Myanmar under an EU-funded multi-country project to increase the coverage of birth registration through strengthened birth registration services. This programme provides technical assistance for strengthening birth registration systems and building capacity at national and sub-national level. It is developing an electronic platform for birth registration that will allow permanent records of registered children to be created for the first time. It is working to create demand for birth registration through awareness raising at national level and in three states and regions: Mon, Chin and Magway.

The Coordination Committee for Birth Registration, which was established in early 2014 and is chaired by His Excellency the Deputy Minister of Immigration and Population, has improved coordination between agents involved in birth registration at all administrative levels.

“Registering every child at birth in Myanmar is possible, the national campaign is a step in the right direction in building an inclusive, equitable and modern society,” Mr. Bainvel observed.

UNICEF in Myanmar
UNICEF has been working with the Government and the people of Myanmar since 1950. In partnership with the Government and the civil society, UNICEF’s current focus of work aims at reducing child mortality, improving access and quality of education and protecting children from violence, abuse and exploitation. For more information about UNICEF and its work in Myanmar. Please visit:
http://www.unicef.org/myanmar. Follow us on Facebook.

For more information, please contact:
Alison Rhodes, Chief, Advocacy, Partnerships and Communication Section, UNICEF Myanmar, Tel: +95-1-230 5960-69,
Ye Lwin Oo, Communication Officer, Advocacy, Partnerships and Communication Section UNICEF Myanmar, Tel: +95-1-230 5960-69, ylwinoo@unicef.org

 

 
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