As the world commemorates the 6th anniversary of the #IBelong Campaign, which falls on Wednesday 11 November 2020, the UN Refugee Agency in Zambia, applauds the efforts the Government of the Republic of Zambia has put in place to ERADICATE STATELESSNESS through various forms of civil registration.
Thousands of children are born in Zambia every year and the efforts by the Government to register and issue them with birth certificates and other civil forms of registration is commendable.
“Without a birth certificate or any form of registration, and later a national registration card, an individual is at risk of being stateless, which means no country will recognize him/her as a citizen. Often, such children are excluded from accessing their fundamental rights and opportunities,” said Ms Pierrine Aylara, the UNHCR Representative in Zambia.
A birth certificate is key to a nationality, rights, identity, to the opportunities and obligations that will be part of what it means to be Zambian for the rest of a person’s life.
UNHCR is cognisant of the study instituted by the Government in 2019 to ascertain the extent of Statelessness in Zambia. The study is commendable as it has resulted in the establishment of a taskforce that has drafted an action plan aimed at ending Statelessness by 2024.
UNHCR calls upon the Government of the Republic of Zambia to continue supporting the adoption of the Regional Action Plan to eradicate Statelessness in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC).
Cognisant of the Government of the Republic of Zambia’s strong support of UNHCR’s #IBelong Campaign to End Statelessness, the UN Refugee Agency calls upon Zambia to continue removing potential barriers, simplifying birth registration processes. Let us make sure that costs or distance from civil registration centres are not the factors that condemn a child to be marginalized, and ultimately stateless. To this end UNHCR encourages the Government of the Republic of Zambia to embark on legal reforms by, firstly, acceding to the 1961 UN Convention and domesticating the provisions of both the 1961 UN Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness and 1954 UN Convention.
Let us also make sure that all parents understand their child’s rights and are supported to complete the steps needed to register them immediately at birth, regardless of their status.
The Government of Republic of Zambia, like any other Government, should finally ensure that safeguards against Statelessness are in place to protect orphans and children found abandoned parents across the country. Above all, the Government is urged to fulfil the promise to all children throughout this country which is laid out in the Constitution.
Zambia’s prospects lie with its children, and how well they are prepared for tomorrow. By making sure that every child’s birth is registered, they can further be given the best start in life: to seek health care, to be educated, to work legally, to pursue justice under the law, to marry, to provide for a family, and one day to register the birth of their own child.
Through birth registration, we can end one of the main causes of Statelessness forever.
Zambia is a party to the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and is committed to becoming party to the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.
Well done! Could go even further, by hospitals issuing mini birth certificates at birth, before mum & baby are discharged – these would ensure every child born in hospital was counted and linked to the National Registry even if registration was delayed or not pursued. Localised midwives, would ensure home births were not left out.
In the SADC region Zambia lags behind in the management of refugees, those that have made it opted out because there are very few or even no opportunities. There are no scholarships, registration is tedious. Zambia only provides tents, we need to do more! Refugees are very productive and we miss the opportunity to benefit because our systems don’t work
Ubuntu under pf is priority. We would rather help our fellow Africans residing on the continent before helping f00lish upnd diasporans who continue to criticize our country. You left and yet you continue to write faeces about the country you ran away from. It shows that you must be sad there abroad and insulting us makes you feel better about your sad lives
In as much as we have done well in accommodating our neighbors, there is a serious threat to Zambians becoming stateless in their own country. Land has gone into either foreign hands or those with financial strength. we are slowly becoming foreigners in our own land. Go to Shakumbila chiefdom, locals are denied land and its given to Chinese nationals.
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