Project underway in Kvemo Kartli to help residents with civil registration
By Shorena Labadze
Monday, July 21Earlier this month UNICEF and UNHCR, working in collaboration with Georgian authorities, launched a project aimed at increasing the registration of children in Kvemo Kartli.
The Messenger visited the village of Kizilajlo, in Marneuli district, to see what problems locals face when it comes to civil registration.
“I can’t even walk to go from this place to that place and collect the documents needed for birth registration,” complains Sekhvadin Aliyev, 82, who is trying to register his grandchildren. “It costs money as well. We can’t afford it.”
Research undertaken by UNICEF shows that 78 percent of children in Kvemo Kartli, a province with a high concentration of ethnic Azeris, are registered at birth. This figure is well under the national average of 92 percent.
Without registration, children and parents are left at a serious disadvantage. Many children are denied access to schooling and cannot receive vaccinations.
Olga Kurbanova, who has two young boys, says she uses a local private doctor when her children are ill, but cannot turn to state institutions. One of her children, a six year old, will not be able to start school in September as he is not officially registered.
Many locals like Aliyev and Kurbanova find dealing with bureaucracy and the expense it incurs to be a serious obstacle to civil registration.
Others, like Sarkhan Alakhverdiev, whose wife gave birth to their daughter at home, simply do not know how to go about getting hold of documents.
Kizilajlo governor Mutu Bozdiev says one problem some ethnic minority villagers face is a language barrier when dealing with officialdom.
“They don’t need to go to Marneuli centre as every state institution they need is here. The problem is they can’t communicate because they don’t know any language except their own,” he says.
The ten-month project aims to increase local awareness of the importance of birth registration and to inform locals of the procedure for registering.
“Birth registration is a foundation of all other rights of children and that is why it is so crucial to eliminate those obstacles preventing…[the] registration of children in the region,” says Giovanna Barberis, of UNICEF.
The project is being implemented by the NGO Legal Development and Consultations Group and has been organized with help from the Justice Ministry, the Civil Registry and the Kvemo Kartli regional administration.