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Bangladesh declares first ever national Birth Registration Day

Dhaka 3 July 2007: The Government of Bangladesh has officially declared today 3 July 2007 as Birth Registration Day to highlight the importance of birth registration for every child and adult in the country. One of the main pillars of today’s celebration is to reinforce the message that birth registration in Bangladesh is free for the next year until 2 July 2008.
Presently the rate of birth registration in Bangladesh is around seven to ten 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, Mr. 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 Mr. Anwar.
A year ago today on 3rd 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 percent of the population lives on less than US$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: 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.

For more information, Please Contact:
M. Shafiqul Islam
Project Director (DS-WS)
Birth Registration Project
Local Government Division
Bangladesh Secretariat
Building # 7, Room # 625
Phone: 716 8579

Arifa S. Sharmin
Communication Officer, UNICEF, Dhaka
Phone: +8802 9336701-10/Ext.442



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