National Consultation on Birth Registration
A National Consultation on Birth Registration, organised by the National Commission on Child Welfare and Development (NCCWD), Ministry of Social Welfare & Special Education and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), was held in Islamabad on Tuesday (27 July 2010) to review the situation of birth registration in the country, identification of issues and impediments and to develop an action plan for achieving universal birth registration in Pakistan.
The Consultation recommended revamping of the Inter-ministerial National Steering Committee to monitor and promote birth registration in the country in coordination with the Provincial Steering Committees. It was suggested that the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) should expand its purview to computerise birth registration in all Union Councils in the country.
The Workshop concluded that a national campaign for birth registration should be launched and supported by social mobilization through civil society organisations. It was also recommended that birth registration by-laws should be harmonised at the nation level and the process for late birth registration should be simplified.
At present, the rate of birth registration in the country is only 24 per cent. This leads to violation of a number of other rights that a child is entitled to under the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC), to which Pakistan is a signatory and had ratified the Convention in 1990.
As enshrined in the CRC, a child must be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right to a name, nationality, right to know and be care for by his or her parents. According to the National Plan of Action for Children by the Government of Pakistan and the concluding observations of the UN CRC committee endorsed by the Government, universal birth registration is to be achieved as a fundamental right of the child.
The Workshop was Chaired by the Additional Secretary, Ministry of Social Welfare and Special Education and attended by representatives of the Federal Ministries and Provincial Departments of Social Welfare, Local Government, NADRA, UNICEF and the civil society organization, Plan Pakistan.