UNICEF and Government of Sindh Launch Digital Birth Registration project in 5 districts

General Press Release

Karachi, September 30, 2016 (PPI-OT):The Local Government Department, Government of Sindh in partnership with UNICEF launched the Digital Birth Registration project here today, to upscale the registration of children as a measure of safeguarding their basic right for an identity.

The project which was initially piloted in Thatta during 2015, is now being extended to Badin and Naushero Feroze in the coming year, while planning has been done to further expand it to Umerkot and amp; Tharparkar by 2018.

The project uses innovative methods to improve birth registration rates for children through the use of mobile phone technology.

A pilot was conducted in two Union Councils of Thatta with the partnership of UNICEF, Telenor and departments of Local Government and Health. The intervention has deemed highly encouraging results, showing that 94 per cent of births are now being registered in these Union Councils, within the first 60 days of birth in accordance with the law.

“I am grateful for this opportunity to highlight that birth registration is a fundamental right for all children – the right to a name and legal identity,” said UNICEF Representative to Pakistan Ms. Angela Kearney. “UNICEF looks forward to a strengthened partnership with the Government of Sindh and Telenor to expand the digital birth registration pilot project across the target districts and facilitate the registration of two million un-registered children within 286 UCs.”

The Sindh Multi Indicator Cluster Survey conducted in 2014 by the Sindh Government, with the technical support of UNICEF, indicates that the rate of registered births for children under 5 stands at 29 per cent in the province. Numbers are relatively low in the five Districts that have been selected for upscaling, ranging from 2 to 5 per cent in Thatta, Badin and Umerkot.

Local Government Secretary Mr. Bakaullah Unnar reiterated his department’s commitment to bring every child within the system and urged the provincial line departments, NGOs and other stakeholders to come forward and exhibit their commitments to this issue of national importance.

Birth registration is a fundamental right of all children as a legal proof of a child’s existence and identity. It is an accurate record of age which can help prevent child labour and child marriage, and protect children from being treated as adults for example by the justice system. In emergencies children are at even greater risk if they are separated from their parents or caregivers and have no documentation.

Pakistan, is a signatory to the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), and as per Article 7 of the convention, is responsible to undertake legal and administrative measures for a child to be registered immediately after birth.

For more information, contact:
Kristen Elsby
Chief of Communications
UNICEF Pakistan
90 Margalla Road, F8/2
Islamabad, Pakistan
Cell: + 92300 500 2595
Tel: +92 51 209 7810
Fax: +92 51 209 7799
E-mail: kelsby@unicef.org