According to estimates by the Macedonian Young Lawyers Association (MYLA) in the Republic of North Macedonia, about 700 people still remain unregistered in the birth register, without an established legal and civil identity. As a result, these persons cannot be medically treated, use social assistance services, be included in formal education, earn a decent living and acquire citizenship.
They are our fellow citizens who are invisible to the legal system, without a single ID number and without access to basic human rights and freedoms.
In the past, the public has witnessed more information and stories about people who are not registered in the birth registry and about the problems they face living on the margins of society. The failure to resolve their status, the failures of previous initiatives and the real challenges and difficulties they face impose the need for a permanent and systemic solution to this burning problem.
MYLA as an organization that since 2010 by providing legal assistance to persons facing difficulties in registering in the birth register, aware of the legal and institutional reasons for this situation, strives to solve this problem and together with the undersigned associations, foundations and civil society networks request the Government of the Republic of Macedonia and the competent ministries to urgently and without delay create and establish a permanent and systematic solution for entry in the birth register of persons who remain unregistered.
According to the Constitution, our country is declared a welfare state. The fundamental freedoms and rights of man and citizen recognized by international law and established by the Constitution as well as solidarity, humanism and social justice are fundamental values of the constitutional order. As a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Status of Stateless Persons and the United Nations Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, the state is obliged to ensure the right of an individual to identity and access to human rights and freedoms.
The provisions in the Law on Registry and the Law on Family that apply in the procedures for registration of persons in the birth register do not comply with international acts and the obligation for smooth and timely registration in the birth register of every child born in the country.
The provisions in these laws do not contribute to solving the real problems in practice due to which people remain unregistered; on the contrary, they cause significant difficulties that have been repeatedly discussed publicly.
It is undeniable that efforts have been made to address this issue. The publication of the public call for registration in the birth register in 2018 and 2019 and the adoption of the Law on Unregistered Persons in the Birth Registry were still temporary solutions in order to facilitate access to certain rights.
However, they did not solve the problem systematically and these people again remain invisible to the legal system. It is important to point out that the Registry Office, by its inaction and untimely enrollment of persons identified in the public call, the majority of whom are children, contributed to these persons remaining invisible and forced to live in poverty and social exclusion.
Proposals were made to find a solution that would include people in the system and give them access to rights like all other citizens. There are solutions to the problem. Documents have been made public in which they have been proposed and they have been the subject of public debate. The registration of these persons in the birth register can be done through:
- Amendments to the Law on Personal Records which will contain a special part for determining the civil identity/status and will be in accordance with the Convention for the Protection of the Rights of the Child or
- Establishment of a special out-of-court court procedure for determining the identity of these persons.
It is especially important that the procedures for registration in the birth register should be fast, efficient and accessible for all persons, and when deciding, the legal deadline should be respected in accordance with the Law on General Administrative Procedure.
We, the undersigned associations, foundations and civil society networks, express our support for this initiative and make our knowledge, expertise and experience available in order to jointly resolve this issue in a transparent process so that these people have equal access to basic human rights.
This request will be forwarded to the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia.
- Macedonian Young Lawyers Association – MYLA Skopje
- Helsinki Committee for Human Rights
- Forum-Center for Strategic Research and Documentation
- HERA-Association for Health Education and Research
- Stella Network
- Coalition for Sexual and Health Rights of Marginalized Communities – MARGINS Skopje
- All for a Fair Trial Coalition
- Center for Legal Research and Analysis
- Association for Action against Violence and Human Trafficking – Open Gate / La Strada
- EHO Educational-Humanitarian Organization Stip
- Rural Coalition
- Institute for Communication Studies
- The first children’s embassy in the world MEGJASHI
- O2 Initiative
- KHAM Delchevo
- Movement of environmentalists of Macedonia
- “Izbor” Strumica
- Reactor – Research in action
- E.T. Station
- Hops Healthy Living Options
- Institute of Political Science and Humanities
- SUMNAL – association for the development of the Roma community
- Human rights journalists
- The hidden hero in every child
- Roma Association for Women and Youth “LULUDI”
- Institute for Human Rights
- Institute for European Policy – EPI
- Youth Educational Forum – YEF
- Equalis – Educational Development Association
- Center for Climate Change Skopje
- Foundation Open Society – Macedonia
- Citizens’ Association for the Promotion of Women’s Activity Tiiiit! Inc.
—————————————————7 June 2021