Vol. 6, Issue 5 (2020)
Birth registration as an antecedent to nationality right: An assessment of the paradigm shift on the right of the child in Cameroon
Author(s): BANDE Gulbert MBAH TARH
Abstract: Birth Registration (BR) is the process by which a child's birth is recorded in a civil register by the applicable government authority, as seen in Cameroon's case. It is one of the most significant events in a child's life, as it establishes the child's existence under the law and provides the foundation for several other rights of the child. Thus, BR provides the child's first legal recognition, leading the child to obtain a birth certificate. Indeed, a child's birth record typically includes the name of the child, his or her parents, attending healthcare professional or birth attendant, and the date and place of birth. On the provision of this information, the birth record is signed by the local registrar and filed with the relevant government agency for the region. The birth record may also include the name, address, and nationality of each parent. In fact, this additional information, along with the child's place of birth, can help establish the child's nationality. Despite these, it is worth noting that the registration of a new-born child is typically facilitated by the local hospital where the child is born or the community healthcare worker present at the birth. Besides, suppose the delivery does not occur in a hospital or presided over by a community health worker. In that case, the parents are obliged to take the child to the local government office for registration as soon as possible after birth. Cogently, the paper avers that BR guarantees the child access to adequate healthcare, education, or be free from abuse or exploitation. At the same time, its absence leaves the child at significant risk of a range of human rights violations. These issues are assessed in the case of Cameroon.