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Guyana targets 100 per cent registration of births

Published:Thursday | December 7, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Guyana, through the Ministry of Citizenship is working to achieve the registration of 100 per cent of births – a process that is in keeping with international standards.

On Wednesday, Minister of Citizenship, Winston Felix told the National Assembly, that since coming to power in 2015, the government has moved to ensure that every citizen is registered despite the difficulties posed by the country’s geography.

“The Convention on the rights of the Child, to which Guyana is a signatory, places responsibility on government under Articles Seven and Eight to respect the rights of children to a legally registered name; a nationality; family ties and an identity,”Felix said.

Toward this end, continuous work is being undertaken to capture those births which have not been registered within one year of the child’s birth.

According to Felix, 491 persons were registered in 2016 and 1,371 were registered in 2017 with the higher numbers of unregistered births, 261 in 2016 and 1104 in 2017, being in Region One.

Highlighting the need for children to be registered to access medical and educational services and be protected from exploitation, Felix said, “our work must continuously seek to register those distant communities to provide parents with the service necessary to enable them to register their children.”

The work, registering unregistered births across the country is spearheaded by the Civil Registry of the General Registrar’s Office (GRO) which falls under the Department of Citizenship.

Support funding is provided by the United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF) which has undertaken a consultancy to conduct a statistical analysis of administrative data on the registration of births between January 1, 2015 and October 1, 2017. Increased funding is expected to be increased with the development of a national plan of action in 2018.

Felix also told the National Assembly that the GRO has continued work to digitise its records and has employed eighty clerks who have digitised almost 1.5 million records, working in two shifts, to date.

Digitisation efforts are to be continued over the next two years before being ready for conversion to printed birth certificates.