GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES AMNESTY TO ENOURAGE LATE REGISTRATION OF BIRTHS

The Bainimarama Government has announced an amnesty for people who have not registered their births with the waiver of the standard fee for late registration.

A late registration is any registration made more than twelve months after birth.

The waiver of the $11.50 fee comes into force today and will last until March 14th.

The Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, urged Fijians to take advantage of this amnesty to register themselves and their children if they have not already done so.

“It is important that everyone has an identity and a birth certificate is the ultimate proof of identity. Without one, you cannot access many basic services, such as social welfare, education, health care and registering to vote,” he said.

The Attorney-General said that past Governments did not make enough of an effort to encourage registrations so now there are a significant number of Fijians who do not have birth certificates, especially in rural and maritime communities.

“The Bainimarama Government is determined to provide everyone the opportunity to do what should have been done all along,” he said.

The Government’s efforts so far have thrown up startling instances of people in isolated areas living most of their lives without a registered identity.

The Attorney-General cited the example of a seventy-nine-year-old woman living on Gau Island who was only recently registered by a Government team.

The Attorney-General also explained that it was Government’s responsibility to uphold the integrity of national identity by preventing people from registering under a false name and committing identity theft.

This means that those going to register must have an informant who is a next of kin and produce a Notification of Birth, which would have been issued by the hospital or health center where they were born.

They must also present a passport size photo and another form of identification, as well as provide a declaration signed in the presence of a Justice of the Peace, which the Births, Deaths and Marriages Office will verify before registration is completed.

The announcement of amnesty comes as a team from the Births, Deaths and Marriages Office departs for Rabi and Kioa Island to encourage registrations of unrecorded births and deaths.

The Attorney-General said that this would give Fijians living on these islands an opportunity to obtain a birth certificate, now free of charge, without having to travel to the BDM Office in Labasa.

The Attorney-General also encouraged families to come forward to report the deaths of any family members for whom death certificates had never been issued.

A team from the Elections Office will join the tour to display the National Register of Voters and to encourage new voter registrations.

Another BDM team is currently on a tour of the Lau Group with the Commissioner Eastern.

The 10-day tour will visit the following locations:

16/01         Buakonikai
17/01         Tabiang
18/01        Uma
19-23/01 Nuku
24/01       Kioa Island

The Ministry of Justice has also announced extended opening hours for the Births, Deaths and Marriages Offices in Suva, Lautoka and Labasa. These offices will now be open on Saturday as well.

Print Friendly