Children, youth air views on civil registration

A total of 50 children and youth from Samoa have shared their views on their life experiences in a consultation on civil registration and vital statistics.

The two-day consultation was run by the Samoa Victim Support Group as a country consultant hired by the U.N.I.C.E.F. Pacific. 

A consultation on civil registration and vital statistics refers to the continuous, permanent, compulsory and universal recording and production of vital statistics on the occurrence and characters of vital events in accordance with national laws, rules, regulations and policies. 

The vital events referred to for recording and production of statistics include: birth, death, fetal death, marriage, divorce and adoption.

However, this consultation will only focus on three which are births, deaths and marriages. 

The consultation process aims to gather views of children and youth on their life experience as well as their recommendations on how the consultation can improve in Samoa. 

This is also in preparation for the second Ministerial Conference on the consultations in the Asia/Pacific region on 16-19 November 2021. 

In 2014 Asia-Pacific countries represented in the First Ministerial conference on the consultations for the region adopted the Ministerial Declaration to “get everyone in the picture” and envisioned that “by 2040, all people in Asia and the Pacific will benefit from universal and responsive civil registration and vital statistics systems that facilitate the realization of their rights and support good governance, health and development.”

One of the participants of the consultation in Samoa is local advocate for sexual assault survivors, Leilua Lino.

She told the Samoa Observer that the project is significant because it gives both youth and children voice on various experiences.

“I think that these documents are important, for example, the birth certificates are needed to enroll students to schools," she said.

Ms. Lino also said that everyone should know how these processes of documenting a person's birth, marriage or death work.

“One of the challenges faced by families in Samoa is financial support; some vulnerable or poor families will not get a birth certificate because they cannot afford it," she added.

She also shared that while the documents are important, she has never seen her birth certificate.

Another participant, Fenaui Faavae told this newspaper that certain documents such as birth, marriage and death certificates will be needed..

“It is a confirmation of identity, your very existence and to also let others know that if something were to happen for example if you died then the death certificate will be proof of such an event.”

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