News & Events

08 Nov 2021
Birth Registration of Refugees in ESCAP Member States

Event Details

This side-event was organized by UNHCR Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific. It took place online on 8 November 2021, from 11:00 to 12:30 hrs, Bangkok time

Background & Scope:

UNHCR provides international protection to individuals who are refugees, asylum seekers, returnees, internally displaced, stateless, or at risk of statelessness. As part of this mandate, UNHCR promotes birth registration for children born to refugee parents. All States in the ESCAP region are State Parties to the Convention of the Rights of the Child, which provides that children “shall be registered immediately after birth”. This wording includes children born to refugees, regardless of the fact whether a country has signed up to international standards for the protection of refugees. The Ministerial Declaration to “Get everyone in the picture” in Asia and the Pacific, adopted at the Ministerial Conference on Civil Registration and Vital Statistics in Asia and Pacific on 28 November 2014 recognizes the need to address disparities in the civil registration that affect refugees. In addition, the Declaration affirms the critical role of civil registration for the prevention of statelessness, and the promotion of durable solutions for refugees. However, children born to refugee parents still face challenges regarding their birth registration in various countries of the Asia and Pacific region. The side event therefore explored how such challenges can be successfully addressed. Practice examples from ESCAP Member States illustrate how they have made birth registration work among refugees (and, possibly, other persons under UNHCR’s protection mandate). UNHCR protection staff from the same countries explained how UNHCR can support governments to make birth registration of children born to refugee parents operational. The event included presentations by government and civil society partners. 


11:00 - 11:15 Introduction by Mrs. Aurvasi Patel, UNHCR RBAP Head of Protection Service: The role of birth registration in refugee protection
11:15 - 11:25 Statement by youth activist, scholar and former refugee Mrs. Safia Ibrahimkel
11:25 - 12:25

Best practices in ESCAP Member States regarding the inclusion of birth registration of refugees into national mainstream civil registration systems

  • Central Asia: Mrs. Elvira Azimova, National Human Rights Commissioner in the Republic of Kazakhstan
  • South-East Asia: Asst. Prof. Darunee Paisanpanichkul, Deputy Dean for Legal Research and Service, Faculty of Law, Chiang Mai University, Thailand
  • Pacific Region: Mr. Mark Rowe, UNHCR Multi-Country Office, Canberra

Panel and debate moderated by Mr. Matthias Reuss, UNHCR RBAP Senior
Statelessness Officer

12:25 - 12:30 Concluding remarks by Mrs. Aurvasi Patel, UNHCR RBAP: Way forward towards comprehensive birth registration among children of refugees and other persons falling within UNHCR’s protection mandate



Date of Event
Monday 08th Nov 2021
Event Venue
Online (Zoom)