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Home Affairs plans to discontinue birth certificates for foreign children

Lawyers for Human Rights says the new regulations propose that foreign children be issued with a 'confirmation of birth' and not a birth certificate

SA birth certificate. Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Legal groups have raised concern over the Home Affairs Department's plan to discontinue birth certificates for foreign children born in South Africa.

The public has until Friday to comment on proposed new regulations to the Births and Deaths Registration Act as it pertains to refugees.

Lawyers for Human Rights, the Centre for Child Law, the University of Cape Town's Refugee Rights and the Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town say previously all children were issued with birth certificates, as is required by the Constitution and international law on children's rights.

Lawyers for Human Rights says the new regulations propose that foreign children be issued with a 'confirmation of birth' and not a birth certificate.

The organisation's Liesl Muller says every child has the right to a birth certificate.

She adds in terms of international law, it is the responsibility of the country of birth to issue a birth certificate, regardless of whether citizenship is granted or not.

“The problem with this is that no child can live a normal life without a birth certificate, and the child cannot access basic education and healthcare.”

Muller says the draft regulation requires children to present their confirmation of birth to their embassy in order to obtain a birth certificate from their country of nationality.

“There are certain groups with children who are particularly vulnerable who won’t be able to, for instance, they’ve fled their country and their refugee protection will be removed.”

(Edited by Mihlali Ntsabo)

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