Vicious Circle: Without Documents from Generation to Generation

Roma without documents

Everyone knows that the problem of obtaining identifying documents for Roma is a major problem for Roma in Ukraine. Often whole families of Roma have no documents certifying their identity. Faced with the complex bureaucratic procedures, with no qualified legal aid, representatives of the Roma national minority refuse to obtain them. The history of the Roma family of Renata Lakatos and her two young children is a vivid illustration of this sore problem.

Bottom line: Yes, to Mukachevo Human Rights Center appealed Renata Lakatos, born May 1, 1989 in Sambor City, Lviv region. Currently she lives in the village Barkasovo, Mukachevo district.

Her mother Helen Lakatos did not register the birth of a child, because she herself had no identifying documents.
On April 16, 2013 Helen Lakatos died at the age of 44 years, which was documented by the record about death.
Renata Lakatos had two young children – Alexander Lakatos, born in 2011, and Ishmael Lakatos, born in 2014. So, she cannot register the birth of her children, according to absence of the documents confirming her identity.
Renata Lakatos appealed to the department of civil registration in Mukachevo, district Mukachevo city, District Registration Service Department of Justice in Transcarpathian region for state registration of her birth, but was denied and recommended to apply to the court.

Under Part 4 of Article 13 of the Law of Ukraine “On state registration of civil status”, the basis for the state registration of birth of a child is determined by the central executive body in health by documents confirming the fact of birth. If the baby is born outside of the health care institution, a document, confirming the birth, is issued by the health care facility that conducted the survey of mother and child. If the health care facility did not make review of mother and child, a document, confirming the birth, is issued by a medical advisory committee in the manner determined by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. The medical advisory committee issues the birth certificate if there is the established fact of a birth of a child by the woman. In the absence of paper of medical institution or medical advisory committee, confirming the birth, the basis for the state registration of civil status is a court decision which establishes the fact of a birth.

The fact of the birth of Renata Lakatos is confirmed by the medical birth certificate (form 103- / 0), medical certificate of the child under the supervision of the hospital.

However, under paragraph 2 of Part 8 of Article 13 of the Law of Ukraine “On state registration of civil status” in case, if the child is sixteen years of state registration of birth can be made for their personal statement, through the presentation of a passport of citizen of Ukraine.

According to p.1.3 Section I of the Procedure of registration and issuance of a passport of citizen of Ukraine, approved by the Ministry of Ukraine of 13.04.2012 number 320, the person should present the birth certificate to be issued a passport.

Considering the above, the child’s birth registration can be made by a court decision establishing the fact of birth.

On the content of paragraph 7 Part 1 art.256 of GIC of Ukraine, the court considers the case on the fact of birth of a person at a certain time in case of failure of registration by the state civil registration of birth.

The lawyers of the Mukachevo Human Rights Center prepared a statement to the court to establish the legal fact of birth.

If the application for establishing the fact of birth will be satisfied by the court and the judgment will be enforced, taking into account the numerous cases of non-compliance with the lawful judgement due to the fact that the register of birth is not possible without a passport, the next step will be not less complicated procedure of registration of children of more than one year age. Indeed, under Part 8 of Article 13 of the Law of Ukraine “On state registration of civil status” state registration of a birth of a child, who reached a year or more, is conducted by the state civil registration by place of residence of the child at the request of parents or other interested persons in the presence of birth certificate and the child under the supervision of a healthcare institution and certificate of residence.

Because of the lack of the above mentioned documents, Renata Lakatos can register the birth of two young children only by a court decision establishing the fact of birth.

Renata Lakatos said that without the help of lawyers, she would have never got any of birth certificates, because she does not know how to read or write, and because of fear of local authorities and officers.

Because of this complex procedure of obtaining the identifying documents, the illiteracy of Roma, their inertia, inaction of public authorities, many members of the Roma national minority live without documents from generation to generation.

Based on the materials of the Charitable Fund “Progress”

PS: The centers of legal information and advice that provide free legal aid to Roma people working with the support of the “Roma of Ukraine“, International “Renaissance” Foundation. To learn more about the activities of a network of centers, foundations and principles of work visit the website under “Legal Empowerment of Roma communities.” The views in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the International “Renaissance” Foundation and other civil, religious and political organizations and individuals.