Source: UN Committee on the Rights of the Child
Concluding observations on the consolidated second and third periodic reports of Namibia.
36. The Committee welcomes the State party’s progress in ensuring that all children are registered at birth, including through the national mobile registration campaign in 2009 and 2010. However, the Committee is concerned that:
(a) Only two thirds of children under the age of 5 have a birth certificate and that birth registration is particularly low in rural areas, especially in Caprivi and Kavango regions and among children living in poverty;
(b) The legal framework for birth registration is restrictive, including the requirement to present civic documentation, which creates serious obstacles for parents without such documents to register the births of their children;
(c) Refugees face serious challenges in registering the birth of their children, as officials are reluctant to issue birth certificates to foreign children born in Namibia. Furthermore, the legal directive which requires refugees and asylum seekers to reside in the isolated Osire refugee settlement restricts their freedom of movement to register the births of their children;
(d) The State party’s legislation on nationality is silent on the issue of granting nationality to children who are found in Namibia but whose parents are unknown.
37. The Committee strongly urges the State party:
(a) To strengthen its e fforts to ensure immediate and universal birth registration, including through reforms in the Birth, Marriages and Death Registration Act of 1963 , and, in the meantime, take immediate special measures to register the births of all children and provide all children with free birth certificates without any discrimination;
(b) To intensify public awareness campaigns on the importance of birth registration;
(c) To establish effective procedures to identify unaccompanied and separated asylum-seeking and refugee children and immediately take special measures to register their births;
(d ) To withdraw its reservation to a rticle 26 of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees , and allow freedom of movement for the refugees and asylum seekers;
(e) To accede to the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless s Persons and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.