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RGD says children without father's name on birth certificate may have problems with NIDS

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Registrar General's Department says it is concerned that children without their father's name on their birth certificates will have issues accessing government services under the fast approaching National Identification System (NIDS).

“Based on statistics between 1955 and 2017 some 1,582,681 children do not have their father's name on their birth certificate,” revealed the RGD in a release today.

The RGD said birth registrations are not fully “complete” until both parents' particulars are recorded.

The RGD expressed that with approval now passed for the National Identification and Registration Act, 2017 (NIDS Bill) all babies will be assigned a National Identification Number (NIN) at birth.

The department pointed out that while there will not be any significant impact of the introduction of National ID cards with regards to fathers' name on birth certificates it would be helpful, as it would make the records more complete. It added that an individual will still be able to apply for a national ID card despite not having his/her father's name on his/her birth certificate.

“What will be negatively affected is genealogy and the RGD's ability to trace a child to his father and his family line if the percentage of non-registration of father's particulars on birth certificates is too high,” said the RGD.

“While some fathers are neglectful and have no desire to own up to their paternal responsibilities, some may not be aware that they are actually fathers. Consequently, they are not given the opportunity to exercise their right to add their particulars to their child's birth record.”

The right to an identity, as embodied in section 19 of the Registration (Births and Death) Act and Article 8 of the United Nations Convention on Rights of the Child identity, includes nationality, name (including surname) and family relations as recognised by law without unlawful interference.

The Registrar General's Department is reporting that:

• from 1955 to 1988, 46 to 48 per cent of records could be classified as incomplete as they do not have the father's name on them.

• from 1989 to 2006, 35-48 per cent of birth records do not have the father's name on them.

• There was a significant decline in the number of records without father's name after 2007. During this latter period 22-29 per cent of records do not have the father's name.

The RGD said the decrease after 2007 was due primarily to the introduction of bedside registration as well as, the first free birth certificate programme.

The RGD is encouraging fathers who are willing and are playing their paternal role but may just not be aware of how to go about adding their particulars, to call or visit any RGD office for information.

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