New Proposal Seeks to Simplify Rules

New Proposal Seeks  to Simplify RulesNew Proposal Seeks  to Simplify Rules

One million people in the country don’t have birth certificates as their Iranian mothers are married to illegal immigrants, mostly Afghan refugees, and therefore their identity is anonymous, said Abbas Qaedi Rahmat, spokesman of the Majlis (Parliament) Social Commission.

The number of people nine years ago without birth ID cards was around 200,000, he was quoted as saying by Tabnak News Agency.

“People who don’t have birth certificates can create serious social and economic problems for the nation. They also don’t have basic rights that most people take for granted, such as education and health services,” he added.

Further, children without birth certificates are unable to prove their age and are at risk of being exploited in the labor market or being arrested and treated as adults in criminal justice, he warned.

Afghans in Iran are mostly refugees who have fled wars in Afghanistan since 1978.  They also include a large number of illegal migrant workers.  In the past three decades, Iran was host to nearly four million Afghans, one of the largest influxes of migrants.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there are 950,000 registered Afghan citizens living in Iran. The ones designated refugees are under the care of the UNHCR, and provided legal status by the Iranian government. They cannot obtain Iranian citizenship or permanent residency, and live under time-limited condition of stay.

Afghan men have married Iranian women during their residence in Iran; however, under Iranian nationality law, the children of such marriages are not recognized as Iranian citizens.

In 2006, legislation was approved to address the issue of identity to children of Iranian women married to men of foreign origin; but given the provisions and requirements of the law, only 2 persons among the 200,000 were successful in receiving their birth certificate, Qaedi Rahmat said.

“By law, turning 18 is the first step towards getting a birth certificate. After 18 years of age, they should reside in the country for one year and officially prove their father’s foreign nationality. Only after the difficult process they can get their birth certificates,” he noted.

 New Proposal

However, in order to facilitate the process in a simpler manner now and with the aim of reducing the number of people without birth identity certificates, “we are devising a new plan that will be proposed to the Majlis,” he added.

 According to the plan, all those who turn 18, can apply for birth certificate if they have been living in the country for five continuous years. Before reaching 18, temporary certificates should be issued to make basic rights including health services and education, available to them, he said.

Some MPs do not agree to the plan, as they believe it is incompatible with Article 75 of the Iranian Constitution. “According to the article, new plans, recommendations and amendments to legislations proposed by MPs that enhance public spending should have alternate compensatory financial benefits through their implementation.”

Several MPs believe that the government has not proposed the plan as it will impose extra financial burden on the administration.