The project is emphasizing the services to the Romani population in Macedonia, to address the urgent and unmet need for assistance in civil and personal registration in obtaining personal documents.
National Roma Centrum is structurally and systematically dealing with Roma civil status registration. NRC’s aims to eliminate the high rates of unregistered Roma in Macedonia, helping in procedures applying for civil registration in order to empower them actively to participate in the society.
The main activity of the Roma Civil Registration Informative Campaign will be to provide information to Roma communities about the value of civil registration and the procedures that must be followed new documentation according to the new Law; and to inform public officials of their obligations to communicate and register all births.
The output of the Campaign will be to increase awareness of the population about the registration, and the Campaign’s main objective is to increase the registration of Roma in order to regulate their status.
NRC is implementing project activities due to issues related to personal civil registration in cities in Macedonia – Skopje (except Suto Orizari municipality), Vinica, Kriva Palanka, Kumanovo, Stip, Tetovo, Gostivar, Prilep, Veles, Kocani, Kavadarci, Bitola and other cities where necessary.
The reasons identified during the previous projects for Roma parents not to register themselves and their children were as follows:
- Complex procedures for newest changes on ID Cards and registering children after the statutory period from the date of birth, including the requirement upon parents to produce supporting documents or witnesses to verify the identity of their child;
- Costs associated with the new ID Cards and late registration, transport and other expenses;
- Hospitals refusing to issue a document stating that the child was born, since a lot of Roma mothers are not covered by health insurance and cannot afford to pay hospital fees;
- Difficulty for parents of children born abroad to get hold of documents from the countries where children were born.
The problems that Roma communities face are so great that, unless we tackle the root causes of marginalization, we cannot hope to significantly increase Roma participation. Resolving such cases can be a long, bureaucratic and often expensive process that may take up to a year. Problems related to civil registration are perpetuated when children are born to parents with no valid documents. Persons excluded from civil registration do not have their identity recognized by the legal system and are unable to execute legally valid acts. They are likely to be excluded from the exercise of rights and obligations. The lack of official identity and other personal documents is an obstacle for Roma and marginalized groups to get access to realization of rights. For instance, inappropriate medical identification is often leading to incomplete vaccination coverage, particularly for children.