Praxis Watch

Tuesday, 28 June 2022

Praxis Lodged an Application with the European Court of Human Rights for Violation of the Right to Register in Civil Registry Books

Praxis lodged an application with the European Court of Human Rights in the case of a child who could not be registered in birth registry books immediately after birth.

In the application, Praxis pointed out that due to the failure to facilitate timely registration in birth registry books, the state denied the child the opportunity to confirm her identity and personal status, to establish a legal relationship with her family and other persons, and stressed that the child was deprived of the opportunity to acquire citizenship and to access a large number of rights, which required registration in birth registry books, such as the right to health care, the right to social protection, the right to freedom of movement or the right to property. Thus, the right to respect for private and family life, guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights, was violated. Given that the problem of timely registration in Serbia affects almost exclusively the Roma population, the application stressed that the principle of non-discrimination had also been violated.

Although the Constitution, the Law on Family and ratified international conventions guarantee every child the right to be registered immediately after birth, in cases where mothers do not have personal documents, children cannot be registered immediately after birth, but the procedures that last from several months to several years must be conducted. Since a significant number of Roma women have still not managed to obtain personal documents, there are new cases of children who in the first months or years of their lives are left without registration in birth registry books, and consequently without many other rights. 

The competent institutions have been neglecting this problem for years and ignoring the recommendations of numerous international bodies that point out that this situation is unacceptable, that every child, regardless of whether the parents have documents, must be registered immediately after birth and that it is necessary to change the by-laws that prevent timely registration. 

In the application, Praxis also pointed out that there was no effective legal remedy in Serbia that could eliminate the violation of this right, since the Constitutional Court had repeatedly refused to establish that the impossibility of immediate birth registration constituted a violation of children’s rights. 

In the event that the European Court of Human Rights determines that there has been a violation of rights in this case, it could be a turning point that would finally end the continuous violations of the child's right to timely birth registration and enable every child to have access to all rights and to enjoy the protection provided by registration in registry books.

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Praxis means action
Praxis means action
Praxis means action