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The problem is more serious for children of Iranian women married to foreign nationals or men of ‘unknown’ nationality.
The problem is more serious for children of Iranian women married to foreign nationals or men of ‘unknown’ nationality.

Birth Certificates Issued for 22,000 “Stateless” People

As a result of parents’ negligence, especially among the weaker sections, many children are not able to receive their birth certificates on time, and if no action is taken early to resolve the problem, it gets more complicated

Birth Certificates Issued for 22,000 “Stateless” People

A total of 22,000 birth certificates for people deemed “stateless” were issued between 2013 and 2016 after their Iranian nationality was ascertained by the National Organization for Civil Registration (NOCR). 
“In this period, 6,577 heads of households living in the southeastern Sistan-Baluchestan Province (bordering Afghanistan and Pakistan) received their birth certificates, facilitating the process for their children to also receive such identity papers,” ISNA quoted Ali Asvat Hashemi, provincial governor as saying.  
“Proper coordination between executive organizations helped in the speedy and effective investigation of the applicants, and addressing the issue of their identity,” he said. 
He blamed parents’ negligence for lack of birth certificates among many Iranian children, especially among the poorer and weaker sections. 
“As a result of parents’ negligence, many children are not able to receive their birth certificates on time, and if no action is taken early to resolve the problem, it gets more complicated over time,” he added. 
The legal deadline for registration of births in Iran is 15 days. A certificate and vaccination card issued by a hospital or health center, birth certificates and ID cards of both parents have to be shown to get a birth certificate for the newborn. 

  Long Legal Process 
As per law, in order for the eligible people to receive a birth certificate, the applicants should introduce two Iranians to attest their nationality. 
The applicant should also bring his/her parents (or the father at least) to the relevant civil registration office; otherwise they have to face other legal processes. 
The process is easier for those whose siblings have birth certificates. Sometimes they may be asked to undergo a DNA test to confirm the biological relationship with parents or siblings.
All documents provided by the applicants are assessed by NOCR officials. They may also be asked to do a DNA test at the Iran Legal Medicine Organization (ILMO); however, many may not be able to afford the costly tests. 
Some people may also be asked to prove their exact age through tests at the ILMO. 
During the complex process, if and when it is determined that the applicant is or was a foreign national, he/she is sent to the Law Enforcement Forces and Ministry of Foreign Affairs to be repatriated to their countries. 
The NOCR website has answered many questions on the issue of nationality. 
The problem is more serious for children of Iranian women married to foreign nationals or men of ‘unknown’ nationality. Most of these women are from poor families and ignorant about the laws regarding marriage to foreigners and the fact that the birth of their children cannot be documented in Iran. 
To address this problem, lawmakers had earlier made a recommendation to enact legislation whereby children of all Iranian women who marry men with ‘unknown nationality’ are issued birth certificates with their mother’s last name. However the problem of such children is still in limbo.

  School Enrollment
A birth certificate is one of the requirements for school enrollment. A student’s identity and nationality should be determined from the beginning; and schools have the legal right to refuse children admission without birth certificates. 
In addition to educational deprivation, people without birth certificate face many other problems. They don’t exist in the eyes of the law, and are in danger of remaining on the margins of society, or being shut out altogether. 
Everyone should have an identity, but if that’s not determined due to uncertainty of the parents’ identity, the government is responsible to define it. Responsible organizations also should take a stand; in this way vulnerable groups won’t be deprived of their civil rights including the right to human identity, state-paid education, healthcare and legal marriage.
Registering a child’s birth is a critical first step towards safeguarding their lifelong protection by establishing an official identity, a recognized name and a nationality. 
However, 49% of children under the age of 5 are not registered across the world. There are also disparities within countries. Children in urban areas are more likely to be registered than those in rural areas. 
Globally, one-third of children living in urban areas are not registered at birth. They are the first to fall through the cracks in the protection systems; their ‘invisibility’ makes it more likely that discrimination, neglect and abuse they might experience will be unnoticed, and unchallenged. Without an age established by birth certificate, there is no protection against child labor and against being treated as an adult in the justice system, according to unicef.org. 

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