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Act on stateless minors, State ordered

by Staff reporter
08 Mar 2024 at 05:07hrs | Views
THE Registrar-General (RG) has been given a week to issue birth certificates to two minor children after years of statelessness.

The two girls aged 10 and 12 were undocumented since birth.

The RG's office refused to issue the birth certificates making several demands, including that their biological father submits Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) test results confirming the paternity of the children.

The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) lawyers Jabulani Mhlanga and Prisca Dube took up the case to assist the children to obtain the much needed documents.

According to ZLHR, the unidentified mother who has been struggling to acquire the birth certificates for her children was legally married to his estranged husband until January 2004.

"Sometime in 2004, the now estranged husband, reportedly left Zimbabwe for the United Kingdom with an agreement that the wife would follow him a year later," the ZLHR reported.

"But this did not materialise and the two have been estranged for 20 years with the mother not knowing about the whereabouts of her former husband."

According to ZLHR, the woman has unsuccessfully tried to obtain birth certificates for her two children on several occasions with the RG's office making several demands including DNA tests.

The lawyers said she was not in possession of any of the required documents.

High Court judge Justice Nokuthula Moyo has, however, since ordered the RG to register and issue the two children with birth certificates within seven days.

In her ruling, Justice Moyo castigated the officers at the RG's Office for refusing to register the births of the children without availing valid reasons.

She said their actions were contrary to the provisions of the Constitution thus contributing to statelessness.

She criticised the officials at the RG's Office for arrogating themselves powers that are not conferred on them in terms of the law. Justice Moyo said the RG's office did not have powers to order DNA tests to prove paternity.

The judge emphasised the importance of the right to a birth certificate.

Source - newsday