Children of refugee parents get birth registration certificates

- ARJUN RAJBANSHI, DAMAK

Oct 11, 2017-Damak Municipality in Jhapa has started issuing birth certificates to children born to Bhutanese refugees while living inside refugee camps in eastern Nepal since 1990.  

Though the government had announced to begin the birth registration process from March, it is only now that a considerable number of refugee parents are visiting the municipal office daily to record the details of their children. 

The municipality has been issuing up to six birth registration certificates daily.

Most refugee parents participating in the ongoing birth registration process hope to see their children become Nepali citizens one day. 

 “I have prepared the birth registration certificates of my daughter and grandson because I want them to have a secured life one day. My daughter (Laxmimaya Magar) and grandson (Rehan Rai)were both born in Nepal,” said refugee Dhan Bahadur Magar, a Bhutanese refugee living at Sector B-4 Camp in Beldangi-1, Jhapa.

Another refugee Panchimaya Tamang from Sector A-1 Camp said she wanted her son and daughter to get Nepali citizenship certificates on the basis of their birth registration documents.

“We, adults, only have identity cards provided by the camp where we spent most of our lives. But we want our children to have a better life,” she said. 

Damak Municipality has issued 95 birth certificates to the children of Bhutanese refugees as of September 25. 

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Nepal 

Bar Association (NBA) had started the initiative of  recording personal events of children born to refugee parents in various camps in eastern Nepal. 

Shanta Pathak, who has been mobilised at  Beldangi camp by the Jhapa district 

chapter of the NBA, said  they documented the events like birth, marriage, divorce and death of refugees. 

“We have recorded various incidents of refugees since 2007, including the birth of children to refugee parents,” she said, adding that the birth certificates were  being distributed under the Personal Events (Registration) Act, 2033 (1976). 

Yubaraj Dahal, executive officer of the municipality, said that the municipal office was making sure that only those children born to refugee parents in Nepal got the birth certificates. 

Nepal has hosted more than 100,000 Bhutanese refugees since early 1990s in seven camps in eastern Nepal. 

With a large-scale third-country resettlement under way since 2007, there are still 9, 222 refugees living in Beldangi and Pathari Sanischare in Morang, as per the record of the UNHCR. Of them, some 1,641 are without refugee ID cards. 

Published: 11-10-2017 07:42

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