Education & Training

Friday, 5 April 2013

Training on Registration in Birth Registry Book Held in Kragujevac

On 5 April 201, the training on registration in birth registry book was held for registrars and deputy registrars administering the registry books for cities and municipalities in the territories of the districts Podunavlje, Branicevo, Sumadija, Pomoravlje, Raska and Rasina, as well as for the administrative officers working on issues related to citizenship, registration of permanent and temporary residence and issuance of ID cards within the organizational units of the Ministry of Interior and employees of social welfare centres in the stated districts. The training for more than 150 participants was organized by the Technical Group, formed based on the Memorandum of Understanding concluded between the Ministry of Justice and Public Administration, Ombudsperson and UNHCR, in accordance with the Activity Plan the aim of which is eradication of the phenomenon of legally invisible persons in Serbia by 2015.

Assistant Minister in the Ministry of Justice and Public Administration and representatives of the Ombudsperson presented the activities of the Technical Group related to implementation of the MoU, with special focus on the amendments to the legal framework and changes in the approach to the current problems related to birth registration that occurred as a part of the process of European integrations. Associate Protection Officer at UNHCR stated in his presentation that the new legal solutions were also in compliance with the obligations of the state stemming from the ratified 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness and that their implementation was very important for creating a legal framework in accordance with the contemporary European tendencies. The attention of the present participants was also drawn to the consequences that the state has to bear as a result of existence of legally invisible persons in its territory, as well as to the existence of administrative obstacles impeding the changes to the status of these persons and hindering their access to rights guaranteed by the Constitution and laws. In this context, Praxis representatives gave an overview of the problems in practice in conducting subsequent registration procedures. Assistant Secretary in the Secretariat for Administration of the Belgrade City Administration, Sector for civil status of citizens, administration of registry books and electoral rights spoke about the work experience of registrars and deputy registrars administering registry books for the territory of the City of Belgrade. Another topic of the training was the issue of acquisition and termination of citizenship of the Republic of Serbia and registration of the fact of citizenship in citizenship records of Serbia. The Head of the Administrative Affairs Department of the Ministry of Interior spoke about this issue. Independent Consultant of the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Policy emphasised to the present participants the importance and role of the guardianship body in legal protection of persons not registered in birth registry books through implementation of latest legal solutions.

In the context of new solutions in the Law on Permanent and Temporary Residence of Citizens (primarily the envisaged possibility to register permanent residence at the address of the social welfare centre for persons who do not have other option to regulate this issue), the Law on ID Card, the Law on Non-Contentious Procedure (prescribing new procedure for determination of time and place of birth, as a basis for registration in birth registries), which reflect the general tendency to facilitate access to basic status rights, participants of the training were advised to use the principle of urgency and proportionality  in their work on deciding upon cases, and to bear in mind that it is the obligation of the state to enable access to the right to be recognized as a person before the law to all its citizens. Newly adopted regulations set basis for fulfilment of the mentioned obligation of the state, thus the competent officers should just apply these regulations consistently, without any form of discriminatory behaviour towards the socially most vulnerable groups, primarily members of Roma minority. The attention was also drawn to the complaints submitted to the Ombudsperson against the work of certain registry offices in the procedures of subsequent registration; the majority of these refer to the work of the registry offices administering the registry books dislocated from Kosovo. Thus the present participants were given guidelines about the manner in which they should deal with the procedures of re-registration and subsequent registration in birth registry books.

In the final part of the training, the participants discussed some unclear aspects in the concerned field and representatives of competent state bodies were asked questions about disputable details of new normative solutions. The Head of the Administrative Affairs Department of the Ministry of Interior concluded that the children of legally invisible persons may be treated in the same way as children of unknown parents or parents of unknown citizenship. Thus the provisions of the Law on Citizenship relating to the possibility of acquisition of citizenship may be applied to them accordingly. In the context of prevention of statelessness, legal guarantees that the children, born in the territory of Serbia, whose parents are legally invisible, will not remain stateless were pointed out. Furthermore, it was confirmed that a decision brought in a court procedure for determination of time and place of birth represents a basis for determination/acquisition of citizenship. However, the need was emphasised for amendments to the Law on Non-Contentious Procedure that would prescribe that the stated decision is also binding on the administrative body in the procedure of determination of citizenship of a person it refers to. Apart from unclear issues related to the procedure for determining personal name before a social welfare centre (the standpoint of the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Policy that social welfare centres (SWC) are competent to determine personal name even to adults was pointed out, despite the previously given opinion of the Ministry that is contrary to this standpoint), the discussion also centred on the current difficulties related to registration of permanent residence at the address of the SWC. It was pointed to individual cases in which the competent officers unlawfully made it impossible to conduct this procedure. However, a good practice example was also presented: in one case before the SWC Kraljevo the procedure for registration of permanent residence was successfully conducted and the concerned person was issued ID card and enabled to access other rights. Representatives of the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Policy gave their guarantees that the Roma living in informal settlements would be able to register residence at the address of the SWC in the territory of which they reside, which can be considered as a sign of good will to implement the laws in a way the legislator intended, and especially in accordance with the interests of protection of this vulnerable group. Even though there has been no progress yet in the negotiations between the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Policy in removing the consequences of unharmonized by-laws, the representative of the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Policy was explicit in his opinion that the existing regulations, while in effect, would be implemented consistently.

Even though many issues have remained open, which is a consequence of poor harmonization of state bodies from various sectors in defining the concerned issues, as well as of frequent lack of flexibility in proceeding of the competent services which if often needed to protect legitimate interests of individuals, some progress can, however, be observed in the approach to the problem of subsequent registration in registry books and in regulating other issues of significance for the protection of the most vulnerable – enabling access to basic documents and guaranteed socio-economic rights. Participants at the training expressed their good will to contribute through their proceeding to removal of the phenomenon of legally invisible persons in Serbia. The success of the proclaimed goals will depend on invested efforts of all competent bodies and services, both at the level of adoption of legislature and at the level of implementation of adopted solutions in practice.

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Praxis means action
Praxis means action
Praxis means action
Praxis means action