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UNICEF Commends Ministries in Kiribati for Promotion of Birth Registration

TARAWA, October 30, 2008 – Over 2000 births occur each year in Kiribati but of these, some 600 or one third are not registered with the Government.

“Registration of birth is the State’s first official recognition of a child and acknowledgement of a child’s existence. It is essential for national planning and eases compiling of accurate data and information about the status of children in a country,” said UNICEF’s Chief of Field Office in Kiribati, Mr. Yun Jong Kang. He added that Article 7 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), states that every child has the right to a name, to acquire a nationality and to know his or her own parents and family.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) commends the Kiribati Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MOHMS) and the Ministry of Internal and Social Welfare (MISA) for signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) today 30th October which will address this problem.

“UNICEF is delighted and will continue to support the two Ministries in Kiribati (MOHMS and MISA) who are working together to promote birth registration,” said Mr Kang.

The main objective of the MoU is to improve the current system of birth notification and birth registration of children under the ages of six years old, with particular focus on registration of new babies born in health clinics. The MoU includes a new form for birth registration notification and specifies roles and responsibilities of health workers, civil registration officers and island clerks.

Mr. Kang said “the implementation of the MoU will help increase birth registration coverage in Kiribati and facilitate both Ministries toward promotion of universal birth registration.”

Activities outlined in the MoU will be implemented in South Tarawa and all other outer islands from November 2008 and Kiritimati Island from 2009.

“We will assess implementation specified in the MoU and particularly the usefulness of the new birth notification form during the mid year review of UNICEF’s Child Protection Programme in June 2009,” said Mr Kang.

With support from UNICEF, MISA is currently in consultation with the Ministry of Education to reach all unregistered children enrolled in primary and junior secondary schools.



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