Thai parents at remote areas can now register their newborns via an online birth registration system provided by hospitals. The system will link birth data of each child in a hospital to the civil registration system.
Interior Ministry’s Department of Provincial Administration, Ministry of Public Health, and National Health Security Office, in partnership with Unicef, developed an online birth registration programme that is currently used by 44 hospitals across the country.
Using Unicef-supported computers, birth data will be instantly synchronised with the civil registration system where registrar officials will immediately know and can track families that have not come to make a record of their child’s birth or obtain a birth certificate.
Apart from supporting computers to hospitals, Unicef is also advocating for one-stop birth registration service that would have registrar officials stationed at the hospitals to issue birth certificates for newborns.
Birth registration is the official recording of the birth of a child by the government. A birth certificate is the first legal recognition of a child identity, and it states a child’s name, date of birth and place of birth, as well as the parents’ details, such as names and nationalities. A birth certificate is the most important document for proving a child’s nationality.
In Thailand, about five per cent of all children born each year, or about 40,000 children, are not registered at birth. This happens even though the law states that any child born in Thailand, including to non-Thai parents or parents who have no legal status, has the right to be registered and to obtain a birth certificate. Many of these children are poor children or children of ethnic minorities and migrants. Some of these children are born at home or in remote areas, or are born to parents who are unaware of the need to register their children’s birth with the government.
Without a birth certificate, a child can be denied the right to subsidized healthcare and other social welfare services, and can face restrictions on travel that limit both future education and employment opportunities. Unregistered children are also more vulnerable to abuse, trafficking and exploitation as their legal status makes it more difficult for them to file complaints or access related service once they fall victims.