Source: UN Committee on the Rights of the Child
Concluding observations on the second periodic report of South Africa
Birth registration, name and nationality
29. The Committee welcomes the substantial increase of birth registration in the State party. However the Committee is concerned that:
(a) Administrative and practical obstacles in obtaining birth registration, including punitive measures for late registration under the Births and Deaths Registration Act 51 (1992), may have negative and discriminatory impact ;
(b) The Citizenship Act 88 of 1995 sets disproportionately strict conditions for granting the nationality of the State party on certain groups of children, and also allows for deprivation of nationality of children based on the loss of nationality of their parents;
(c) Reportedly there are many children, who either migrated into or are born in the State party, in Child and Youth Care Centres who are undocumented and/or whose births have not been registered;
(d) There are rigid requirement for the possession of birth certificate in accessing social and child protection services.
30. Taking note of target 16.5 of the Sustainable Development Goals on providing legal identity for all, including birth registration, the Committee strongly recommends that the State party:
(a) Review and amend all legislation and regulation relevant to birth registration and nationality to ensure their full conformity with the Convention, including through removal of requirements which may have punitive or discriminatory impact on certain groups of children;
(b) Put in place regulations to grant nationality to all children in the jurisdiction of the State party who are or at risk of being stateless;
(c) Regularly monitor and ensure that measures adopted by such legislation, regulations and guidelines guarantee birth registration of all children in the State party, including non-nationals;
(d) Systematically identify all undocumented children currently residing in Child and Youth Care Centres in all parts of the State party and ensure their access to birth certificates and nationalities;
(e) Ensure that the lack of birth registration does not hinder access to child protection and basic social services while enhancing its efforts for universal birth registration;
(f) Consider ratifying the 1954 Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness;
(g) Seek technical assistance from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) among others, for the implementation of these recommendations.
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