EAC secretariat hopes that by 2022 each child will have a nationality in the EAC region as highlighted on 30th -31st August 2018 workshop for applying the framework for strengthening child protection systems in the EAC held in Kigali, Rwanda, organized by Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Community in partnership with African Child Policy Forum.
According to the East African Community Child Policy (2016), Partner States of the EAC are at different levels in terms of enforcing universal birth and death registration systems. The lack of a birth certificate for a child is synonymous with lack of legal identity and citizenship. There is need to ensure that all the children enjoy the right to citizenship by putting in place an effective and efficient Birth and Death Registration Systems.
EAC Secretariat emphasizes that these Strategies are useful:
- a) Strengthen the Birth and Death Registration Systems in all Partner States
- b) Ensure that each child has a nationality.
The right to birth registration is contained in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which provides that “the child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to a name, the right to a nationality.” As well as being a ‘right’ in itself, birth registration has also been linked with a wide range of other rights and benefits, such as securing a child’s access to essential services and protecting children from abuse and exploitation.
The recent Demographic and Health Survey (DHS 2014-2015) shows that 91% of children in Rwanda are born at health facilities which makes approximately 300,000 children (National Census, Medium, 2015) as reported by the Health Management Information System (HMIS). Of these children, only 56% are registered into Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) System (152,163) and only 50% of them are registered into the sector Civil Registry and are eligible to Birth Certificates. In other words only a quarter (¼) of children born at health facilities is registered in Rwanda. This situation can be similar in other members of the EAC.
Area 3 of the EAC child policy priority areas says each child has the right to citizenship and Identity.