Georgetown, Guyana – (September 25, 2015) The Ministry of Citizenship in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) will be embarking on a mission to achieve 100 percent birth registration in Guyana.
This announcement was made by Minister of Citizenship, Winston Felix and UNICEF’s Resident Representative, Marianne Flach, today, at a press conference at the Ministry of Citizenship, which is a Ministerial office within the Ministry of the Presidency.
UNICEF will be leading the development of a multi-year communication and education plan to support the drive to universal birth registration. Further, UNICEF will partner with Government to conduct a legislative review of the Registration of Births and Deaths Act and other legislation, including proposed legislation that directly and indirectly affects the population’s right to identity.
“Birth registration opens the door to many other rights; health, education, participation and protection from abuse and exploitation. The risks that are faced by children and adults who are not registered are tremendous and may hinder access to other child and human rights,” Minister Felix said.
These sentiments were later echoed by the UNICEF Representative.
They also noted that birth registration is linked to good governance and sound national development in order to effectively plan for the population.
This project is expected to be rolled out in full in 2016, with the first stage expected to last for two years. This will be part of a number of first steps to ensure that Guyana’s vision for 100 percent registration is realised through the full articulation and implementation of policies, which promote among other things, free and universal birth registration.
These steps will be accompanied in the future by a larger plan of action, which would address issues such as supply and demand, including decentralisation and access to efficient and quality services, budget and expenditure that is supportive of increased birth registration and management and coordination issues to support birth registration for all; including those living on the coastland, rural areas and in the hinterland.
Currently, Guyana boasts of a registration rate that is between 89 and 92 percent. However, Minister Felix and the Resident Representative are of the view that there is much more to be done. “One child not registered is really one child too many,” Flach said.
In the meantime, Minister Felix expressed the Government’s appreciation for the collaboration, noting that it will go a long way in ensuring that the basic rights of Guyanese are met.
The legislative review will be spearheaded by Patrick Triumph, Chief Executive Officer of Triumph International Group, while the communication and education campaign will target television, radio, social media and other media.