Social & Economic rights

Thursday, 12 December 2019

Recommendations not implemented – not all children in Serbia can get registered in birth registry books immediately after birth


Serbia has still not implemented an important obligation stemming from ratified international conventions, its Constitution and legislation. Even though these acts prescribe that every child must be registered in the birth registry book immediately after birth, this right is still not accessible to all children in Serbia. Children whose mothers do not possess personal documents cannot be registered in the birth registry immediately after birth, but it it necessary to conduct separate procedures for them, which may last long and be complicated. Until these procedures have been completed, the children will be left without a birth certificate, access to health care and social welfare and other rights.

Basic obstacle to birth registration immediately after birth of children whose mothers do not possess personal documents is found in the bylaws which regulate registration of birth and entry into birth registry books.

More and more recommendations and reports by international organizations and treaty bodies, requesting that Serbia enable birth registration to every child immediately after birth, regardless of whether child’s parents possess personal documents or not, show that such a situation is untenable. In 2019, CEDAW and the European Commission issued such recommendations, while the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights included the problem of birth registration in the List of issues in relation to the third periodic report of Serbia on implementation of International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Previously, such recommendations have been issued by the UN Human Rights Council, UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, UN Committee on Human Rights, European Parliament. Serbia has also pledged to fulfill the Sustainable Development Goals, including the one to enable registration in birth registry book to everyone.

Unfortunately, international recommendations have not been implemented, while the disputed provisions of the bylaws are still in force. For this reason, the mothers who do not possess personal documents still cannot register their children in birth registry book immediately after birth. It is particularly worrying that, as a rule, these children belong to Roma national minority, who live on the margins of society, in deep poverty.

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Praxis means action
Praxis means action
Praxis means action
Praxis means action