What and why
Birth registration is the official recording of the birth of a child by the government. A birth certificate is the first legal recognition of a child identity, and it states a child’s name, date of birth and place of birth, as well as the parents’ details, such as names and nationalities. A birth certificate is the most important document for proving a child’s nationality.
According to the survey on the situation of children and women conducted by the National Statistical Office in 2012 with support from UNICEF, almost all children under the age of five in Thailand are registered at birth (99.4 per cent).
However, the survey which is also called the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey or MICS, also found that the number of children who are registered at birth is less among those whose mothers have low education.
The biggest difference is among children from non-Thai households, where the birth registration rate is only 79.2 per cent. This happens even though the law states that any child born in Thailand, including to non-Thai parents or parents who have no legal status, has the right to be registered and to obtain a birth certificate.
Without a birth certificate, a child can be denied the right to subsidized healthcare and other social welfare services, and can face restrictions on travel that limit both future education and employment opportunities. Unregistered children are also more vulnerable to abuse, trafficking and exploitation as their legal status makes it more difficult for them to file complaints or access related service once they fall victims.
What we do
UNICEF worked with the Department of Provincial Administration, Ministry of Interior, in developing an online birth registration programme that links information on each child born in a hospital to the civil registration system. When this information is linked to the registration system, registrar officials immediately know and can track families that have not come to make a record their child’s birth or obtain a birth certificate.
Currently, about 620 hospitals nationwide are using online birth registration programme. UNICEF is working with the National Health Security Office, Department of Provincial Administration and Ministry of Public Health to expand the system to almost 900 hospitals across the country. UNICEF is also supporting a study to identify the remaining barriers that prevent parents from registering their child, and working with partners to address these challenges.
We want all children born in Thailand to be registered at birth regardless of their parents’ ethnic or legal status. Ultimately, we are working to have birth registration and the issuing of official birth certificates carried out at hospitals by hospital officials, which is allowed under the current Civil Registration Act.
• Birth certificate is the most important document for proving a child’s nationality
• Only 79 per cent of children from non-Thai households are registered at birth
• Without a birth certificate, a child can be denied the right to subsidized health care and can face restriction on travels
• Unregistered children are more vulnerable to abuse, exploitation and trafficking