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Father's name on birth certificate will make it smoother for NIDS

Thursday, February 08, 2018

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THE Registrar General's Department (RGD) is appealing to mothers to ensure that their child's father's name is written on the birth certificate, in order to facilitate the smooth transition of the National Identification and Registration system.

The RGD, in a news release yesterday, said 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.

It said that while there will not be any “significant impact” of the introduction of National ID cards with regard to fathers' names on birth certificates, it would be helpful as it would make the records more complete.

It said that based on statistics, between 1955 and 2017, some 1,582,681 children do not have their father's name on their birth certificates.

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

“With the National Identification and Registration system fast approaching, there are concerns regarding the impact it will have for children accessing Government services, (whose father's name is not on their birth certificates).

“Birth registrations are not fully 'complete' until both parents' particulars are recorded. The records show 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 to 48 per cent of birth records do not have the father's name on them,” the RGD release disclosed.

However, the release said that there was a significant decline in the number of records without the father's name after 2007. It said that during this latter period, 22 to 29 per cent of records do not have the father's name.

“This decrease is due primarily to the introduction of bedside registration as well as the first free birth certificate programme. With approval now passed for the National Identification and Registration Act, 2017 (NIDS Bill) all babies will be assigned a National Identification Number at birth.

“What will be negatively affected if the father's name is not given 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.

“Whilst 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 RGD continues to encourage 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,” the release said.

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