The official recording of a child's birth by the Government establishes the existence of the child under law and provides the foundation for safeguarding many of the child's civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. Article 7 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child specifies that every child has the right to be registered at birth without any discrimination. Free and universal birth registration is a critical instrument to ensuring equal access to services such as health and education, as well as to all rights associated with citizenship. Birth registration prevents statelessness.
For more than three years, restrictions on freedom of movement have been adversely affecting large numbers of persons, including for obtaining civil registration documents issued by the Government of Ukraine. While a judicial procedure does exist in Ukraine that allows children from non-government controlled areas of Ukraine (‘NGCA’) to obtain birth certificates, the steps are cumbersome and expensive, especially for vulnerable families. A review of court records suggests that an estimated 38% of children reported to have been born in Donetsk and Luhansk NGCA and less than 10% in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea have obtained a birth certificate issued by the Government of Ukraine.
Without birth registration in Ukraine, these children are likely to face difficulties in accessing documentation required to prove their nationality. This will have long-term negative consequences for them, impacting on their ability to obtain a Ukrainian passport.
Without it, they may not be able to travel abroad, study at university, register their marriage, and even register the birth of their own children. There are long-term problems associated with the absence of birth registration. Ukraine can take measures to prevent these problems. This is an investment in the future of young Ukrainians. It will protect their rights and underpin social cohesion.