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Child birth registration lowest in Tanzania - UN

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    BAK JF-Expert Member

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    Child birth registration lowest in Tanzania - UN

    By Rosemary Mirondo

    10th August 2009

    Minister for Community Development Gender and Children Margreth Sitta

    Tanzania has been cited as having the lowest rate of registration of names, nationality and identity of children thus putting them at risk of denial of their rights.
    The Vice Chairperson of the Committee of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Dr Agnes Akosua Aidoo made the remark in Dar es Salaam over the weekend focusing on the draft of law of the child Act, 2009.
    The conference was also attended by the visiting Members of the Committee on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
    She said that it was of great concern to find that in Tanzania only 6 per cent in every 100 Tanzanian children have a birth certificate.
    “This is one of the lowest rates in the world putting children at risk of the denial of their protection rights,” she said.
    Aidoo added: “We urge the government to accelerate action on this first right of the child, by having a national birth registration strategy with the resources needed to enable access of all children to free birth certificates,” Aidoo said.
    She further said that human rights begin with children from the very moment of birth by having the right to a legally registered name, a nationality and an identity that lays the foundation for their protection throughout life.
    She said that in recent years landmark policies on child development, on disability, and refugees among others have all helped to lay a foundation for the advancement of human rights in Tanzania.
    She said that the draft law of the Child Act 2009 has the core principles of the interests of the child and non discrimination but urged everyone to continue advocating in ensuring that the act becomes a reality that benefits every Tanzanian child.
    However she said that there were severe gaps in funding for children in Tanzania and the future law of the Child Act that cannot make a difference unless it has proper human and financial resources.
    “In recent years, the government has increased funding for health and education yet resources for protection of child rights and justice for children are severely limited, “she said.
    Justice for children requires social justice within the legal system, because children who grow up exposed to violence, abuse and exploitation could impose greater and more costly burdens on the society she said.
    “Prevention is far better than coping with the aftermath of a failure to protect children and ensure their development to their full human potential, she said.
    She further noted that there were widespread shortages in skilled, qualified professional social workers, police officers and judges as well as financing to enable systematic, coordinated and effective protection for the most vulnerable children.
    Aidoo said that children represent half the population of Tanzania and a significant proportion of the poor and as such warrant a major focus in the MKUKUTA and the drive for economic growth and the achievements of Vision 2025 cannot be assured without investment in children.
    For her part, Minister for Community Development Gender and Children Margreth Sitta said that the introduction of the Draft Law of the Child Act marks a most important step forward for child rights in Tanzania since the country ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child 20 years ago.
    She said that the act recognizes a child to be a person below 18 years and therefore other laws allowing a girl to be married at 14 years of age are nor recognized.