No Birth Certificate Means Deprivation for Many Kids

No Birth Certificate Means Deprivation for Many KidsNo Birth Certificate Means Deprivation for Many Kids

The Social Welfare Organization (SWO) should announce the exact number of children without birth certificates in the country. Only then can the relevant organizations propose a bill to address the problems of children arising from their lack of identity,” said Abbas Qaeid-Rahmat, a member of the Majlis (Parliament) Social Commission.

“If there is a lacuna in the law, the Majlis is ready to cooperate to fill the gap or eliminate the deficit,” he said quoted by the Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA).

Everyone has an identity, but if it’s not determined due to uncertainty in 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, health care and legal marriage.

A birth certificate is one of the requirements of 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. At present, the two issues of poverty and lack of identity are the main reasons for deprivation of education among the weaker sections, in particular Afghan refugees residing in various parts of the country since the past two decades.

 Social Protection

“To solve the identity problem of children lacking birth certificates, organizations including the SWO, interior ministry and also ministry of labor and social affairs can develop and propose a bill to the Majlis,” Qaeid-Rahmat said. The Majis is prepared to approve any proposal which is effective in protecting children and guarantees their basic rights, he stressed.

The non-issuance of birth certificate to some sections of the population has various reasons. One major reason is marriage between Iranian women and foreign nationals, mostly Afghans, or men with ‘unknown’ nationality, and the fact that the birth of their children is not documented. Most of these women are from poor families who are ignorant about the negative consequences of the marriages.

A recommendation made in this regard is enacting legislation whereby children of all Iranian women who marry men with ‘unknown nationality’ are issued birth certificate with their mother’s last name.


In addition to educational deprivation, children without birth certificate have 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.

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.