Egypt: Court ruling obliges authorities to register children from customary marriages

Published: 24/Apr/2017
Source: Mada Masr

An Egyptian court issued a ruling obliging authorities to register children from customary (Urfi) marriages, and issue them birth certificates the state-owned Egynews website reported on Monday.

The Administrative Court ruled that employees at the Civil Status Organization, a registrar authority affiliated with the Interior Ministry, must register children born into customary marriages, guaranteeing their right to access health and educational services. Authorities currently decline to register children who are not born from official marriages.

Customary marriages are a form of marriage that is not officialy registered with the state, whereby a couple signs a document as proof of marriage, in the presence of two witnesses who also sign. The procedure is usually carried out by couples who do not wish to publicly announce their marriage. Despite being Islamic Sharia-compliant, the practice is generally frowned upon in Egyptian society and can lead to legal issues for women afterward, and difficulty acquiring access to services that require a birth certificate, like school enrollment and vaccinations.

Lawyer at the Center for Egyptian Women Legal Assistance (CEWLA) Abdel Fattah Yehia told Mada Masr this is not the first court ruling of the sort. According to Yehia, a 2015 ruling issued by the Administrative Court permitted mothers with customary marriage contracts to register their children, as did as an earlier ruling by an Alexandria court.

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Themes: Birth Registration
Regions: Egypt
Year: 2017