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Free birth registration for all children under five in Burundi

BUJUMBURA, 30 August 2008 – UNICEF congratulated President Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi for announcing free birth registration for all children up to the age of five years. President Nkurunziza also suspended - till October - fines on parents who previously failed to register their children on time.

Recently released government information in BurundInfo indicates that about one out of every two Burundian children are not registered at birth. Nearly 1.5 million of Burundi’s estimated eight million population are children under five years old.

UNICEF Representative Gloria Kodzwa, praised the presidential measure, noting that this will enable every child under five access to the government’s free health services and free primary education programme for all children. Kodzwa added that birth registration will deter child traffickers and those who recruit under-aged persons into armed groups.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Burundi ratified in 1990, asserts that every child has the right to be registered  at birth and thus a right to a name and a nationality.

The UNICEF Representative commended the government of Burundi on its programmes aimed at fulfilling children’s rights, including free birth delivery services for pregnant women in public health institutions, free health care for children under five, free primary education for all, and improved immunization of children against preventable childhood diseases.

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 additional information:

Olalekan Ajia, Communication Specialist. Tel. +257 79 950 247 E-mail oajia@unicef.org
Félicité Hatungimana, Senior Communication Assistant Tel : + 257 79 943 252 E-mail : fhatungimana@unicef.org




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