July 22 2020
A Solution To Birth Certificate Issue For Children Without Parental Care
All individuals need to be treated equally regardless of any complications pertaining to their birth. Unfortunately, children from childcare institutions have been battered over and over again concerning this matter from all service providing organizations including government services. Youth who grew up without biological parents are patronized almost everywhere when they try to apply for jobs, universities, athletic competitions, government benefits, and the list could go on. Such youth are stigmatized from all directions in society just because their birth certificate has a blank line for ‘father’s name’ or ‘marital status’.
To find a solution to this stigmatization and put an end to it, a youth network called ‘Generation Never Give Up’ (GNG) consisting of over 135 individuals who grew up at childcare institutions took a stand. Backed by SOS Children’s Villages, Sri Lanka, the members of GNG continuously pressured relevant government institutions to provide a permanent solution to the birth certificate issue.
Persistent requests that were made, accompanied by proposals submitted to relevant institutions finally caught the attention of the Minister of Women and Child Affairs and the Chairpersons of the Parliamentary Caucus on Children who decided to do something about this matter. Subsequently, comprehensive deliberation and debate took place on several prepositions such as issuing a probable birth certificate, an extract of the original birth certificate, removing the marital status from the birth certificate, or issuing a unique ID. Further follow ups and communication with authorities finally bore fruit - The result of almost three years of hard work by GNGN that worked to push this matter forward.
In the second week of July, The Registrar General, S. M. Withanage said that a decision has been taken not to include the ‘marital status’ question of parents on the new digital birth certificate as it is considered as causing prejudice to children. This is to be introduced in the course of two months.
A big win for all youth without a biological family all over Sri Lanka! SOS Children’s Villages, Sri Lanka applauds the determination of GNGN for taking a stand and seeking justice on behalf of all who are facing the birth certificate issue in Sri Lanka.