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.
In Thailand, about five per cent of all children born each year, or about 40,000 children, are not registered at birth. 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. Many of these children are poor children or children of ethnic minorities and migrants. Some of these children are born at home or in remote areas, or are born to parents who are unaware of the need to register their children’s birth with the government.
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 44 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 all hospitals across the country. UNICEF is also advocating for one-stop birth registration service that would have registrar officials stationed at the hospitals to issue birth certificates for newborns.
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.