CRC Concluding Observations: Zimbabwe, 2016
Source: UN Committee on the Rights of the Child
- Noting with appreciation the measures taken by the State party to increase the rate of birth registration, including the removal of fees for the issuance of birth certificates to children, the Committee nonetheless remains concerned (para. 13) at the low number of births registered and the low number of birth certificates issued, especially in rural areas and to low-income households. It is further concerned that the failure to present a birth certificate may result in, inter alia, denial to enrol in school and sit for and receive national school examination certificates. It may also lead to the denial of inheritance from a child’s legitimate father owing to failure to prove paternity, as required by the inheritance laws in the State party.
- The Committee recalls its previous recommendation (para. 27) and recommends that the State party:
(a) Ensure the Births and Deaths Registration Act (2005) is implemented in a manner that promotes the best interests of the child and simplifies the administrative requirements for the registration and issuance of birth certificates;
(b) Equip decentralized government authorities and health facilities at the local level to register births and issue birth certificates;
(c) Strengthen and expand mobile birth registration to reach universal coverage, in particular for registering children born outside of health facilities and children who have never been registered;
(d) Increase public awareness of the importance of birth registration and the process by which births are registered.
- The Committee is concerned about reports that children born on the territory of the State party to parents of indeterminate nationality have been denied the right to have their birth registered and to acquire Zimbabwean nationality, which has impeded their access to health care, education and other social services. It further notes the absence of legislative provisions to guarantee that children born stateless in the State party acquire a nationality.
- In the light of its general comments No. 6 (2005) on the treatment of unaccompanied and separated children outside their country of origin and No. 7 on implementing child rights in early childhood, the Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Take measures to ensure that all children born in the State party have the legal right to be registered at birth with a name, regardless of their parents’ citizenship status and/or country of origin, and that they have equal access to health care, protection, education and other social services;
(b) Consider ratifying the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness and amend its domestic legislation on nationality accordingly so as to ensure that every child enjoys the right to acquire a nationality;
(c) Seek technical assistance from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and UNICEF for the implementation of these recommendations.
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