South Africa: Sons and daughters of no country

Published: 8/Jan/2019
Source: Mail & Guardian (South Africa)

By Jan Bornman

If amendments to the Births and Deaths Registration Act are approved, the children of migrants and other vulnerable groups might find it even more difficult to access basic services. Under the proposed amendments, these children will receive a notice of birth, which will have to be taken to their embassy to obtain a birth certificate.

Non-governmental organisations — including the Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town, Lawyers for Human Rights and the Centre for Child Law — have expressed concerns over the proposed amendments, saying that they amount to unfair discrimination on prohibited grounds in terms of the equality clause of the Constitution. They also violate children’s rights to a name and nationality in terms of Section 28 of the Constitution, as well as various instruments of international law.

The amendments also do not consider that it is dangerous or impossible for those who have fled their countries to approach their embassies for birth certificates; or that orphaned and abandoned children who cannot prove their nationalities because their parents are absent, and stateless children who do not have a country of nationality, might be prejudiced.

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Themes: Acquisition of nationality, Acquisition by children, Birth Registration
Regions: South Africa
Year: 2019