Over the past year, Emerge has taken part in Sri Lanka’s 18+ Alliance, which was led by SOS Sri Lanka. As part of this work, the Alliance advocated to minimize institutionalization, decrease sibling separation when girls are institutionalized, and to develop a birth certificate extract that could be used in place of a full birth certificate. In Sri Lanka, children use their birth certificates when to attend school. If the child has been born out of rape, there is no father on the birth certificate. If the child was born in an institution, the name of the institution is on the birth certificate. Because of this, many of Emerge’s pregnant and parenting young mothers worry about their children’s ability to succeed in school without facing discrimination.
This August, we are thrilled to say that the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Women and Gender made the decision to issue an extract of the Birth Certificate for daily use and accessing services, with only mandatory details such as name and date of birth. The marital status column will also be removed. This new extract will be issued to all newborn babies from 2019 onwards, and those born before 2019 will be issued the extract in a second round.
This is tremendously exciting news for our girls and their children!