PUICA supports the member states of the OAS in their efforts to eradicate under-registration, in order to ensure recognition of the right to civil identity for all persons in the region.
AG/RES. was adopted in the General Assembly of the year 2008. 2362 (XXXVIII-O/08) Inter-American program for the Universal Civil registration and right to identity. This program entrusts the General Secretariat of the OAS to assist Member States in their efforts to achieve universality and accessibility of the civil registry, and comply with the goal of universal birth registration by 2015.
Identity is a fundamental human right, which has been historically recognized in several international legislative bodies:
Currently, some 10% of children born in Latin America and Caribbean officially do not exist as their births were never recorded. This means that the states have no proof of their existence and that those children will therefore have no protection from a variety of violations and will also be excluded from basic services. In terms of the adult population, there are no accurate data on the number of people who were never registered, and the percentages vary significantly from country to country and from region to region within countries. What is certain is that poverty is a constant factor where there is under-registration, and that the latter mainly affects the most vulnerable populations.
This means that States have no record of their existence and therefore these children and adults will remain limited from access to a range of services and rights they would otherwise be guaranteed.
On one side, civil identity is indispensable for the exercise of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, as well as to give effect to the rights to nationality, the name, legal personality and family ties.
Likewise, civil identity is of vital importance to the strengthening of democratic governance that allows citizens to participate actively in the political life of a State, in exercise of their right to vote.
In addition, universal civil registration is the basis to enable States to have precise information about the population and which will allow them to develop their social and economic plans.
In this aspect, the PUICA priorities are reducing the rate of
under registration and the removal of barriers to effective
registration which can be achieved through
the following strategies:
Through institutional strengthening, generation of synergies in national registration institutions, and improvement of legislative techniques, PUICA seeks to ensure that the outcomes obtained by the intervention will be sustained over time and thus make progress permanent.
The strategies that the program has developed to achieve this sustainability are:
Theatric work at a school to explain to children the importance of being registered
The participation of the communities served in project design and execution is a defining feature of the PUICA strategy. This participation is both at the stage prior to design and subsequent campaign coordination and promotion.
Awareness among the population and among the institutions about the importance of the right to identity is also vital to the elimination of under-registration. Hence PUICA wants awareness to be a very important component of its strategy, and incorporates it into campaigns through awareness workshops in schools and health centers.
In their effort to spur access to civil records, national registration institutions have been continually come up with practices that are delivering positive results. In this regard, the work undertaken by PUICA is to identify those practices and provide a forum for them to be disseminated and shared. Collaboration is also being pursued with the CLARCIEV (Latin American Council for Civil Registration, Identification, and Vital Statistics), the body that brings together civil registration institutions in the region, thus enabling knowledge transfer among the region’s registration institutions. Since 2009, PUICA has served as Executive Secretariat of CLARCIEV, and manages that institution’s website.
In 2010, PUICA published its “Handbook of Civil Registration Best Practices,” which contains a methodology for identifying those best practices and a description of best practices identified in Mexico, Peru, and Colombia.
A key element of the PUICA strategy is the promotion of partnership – between and among different countries of the Region, and between and among local and international cooperation players, the aim being to:
Utilizing the applications and procedures developed for the Eastern Caribbean, PUICA has initiated a program of modernization of the Vital Statistics Unit in Belize. The program includes a new application for entering and verifying information on births, deaths and marriages as well as providing hardware upgrades, including a new server and a Bookdrive scanner, which captures the images of all vital registries in the country. The scanning and storage of these documents not only preserves important historical documents, it also ensures the quick reference to source documentations to facilitate accuracy and efficiency. The upgraded application will facilitate the issuance of birth certificates to newborns as well as generate vital statistical data for planning and designing public policies and development projects. The one-year project, financed through a generous contribution from the Government of Chile, contemplates onsite technical assistance and intense training for the officials of the Vital Statistics Unit.
Through mobile registration and publicity campaigns in the Yungas, Manco Kapac, Beni and Chuquisaca regions, and in collaboration with the National Civil Registry Bureau of Bolivia, the right to identity is now a reality for more than 15,000 individuals, most of them indigenous.
It is expected that by 2011 about 6,000 people in the rural areas of Potosi will have benefited from this mobile registration system.
Both operations have been funded through the Spanish International Development Cooperation Agency (AECID).
The objective in this region is to digitize the information contained in record books at the civil registries for vital records; primarily for births, deaths and marriages.
Additionally, this data will be stored in a searchable database using a customized Caribbean Civil Registry and Identity System (CCRIS) application with the registries having the ability to edit these records and print certificates on a secure media for issuing to the citizens in the country. It is expected that after an initial six (6) month period where a significant majority of work to digitize these historical records, which date as far back as 1905 would have been captured, the member states will integrate the project into their daily operational procedures.
The Canadian cooperation agency is funding the execution of this project, along with funds from USA and Chile.
Since 2008, PUICA has supported the National Registry of
Natural Persons in the implementation of a hospital
registry of the National Hospitals of Sonsonate and
Ahuachapan. Between January and October 2011,
6.842 entries have taken place, 74% of births in the
offices of these two hospitals. Since opening in
December 2008 (Sonsonate) and August 2009 (Ahuachapan),
there have been 16.589 entries. The project contemplates
a continuous effort to raise awareness of the importance
of an identity at birth. Currently, an agreement is planned
to be signed with the Ministry of Health which will allow
the opening of offices in different hospitals of El Salvador
and shortly the opening of a third project office at the
Hospital San Miguel. The proposed hospital system in
El Salvador was funded by grants from the Spanish Agency for
International Development Cooperation (AECID).
PUICA has been working with the National Registry of Persons (RENAP) since 2008 with funds from the Spanish cooperation. Several registration and awareness campaigns were executed in different areas of the country including the municipalities of Chichicastenango, San Pedro Sacatepequez, San Juan Sacatepequez, San Raimundo, and Huehuetenango. Through training and cooperation of community leaders, more than 3,000 people were registered for the first time. In addition, campaigns managed to consolidate a network of local actors who continue to promote the civil registry in the area. As a result of these campaigns, and by decision of the RENAP, the Office for the reduction of under registration was created with the purpose of achieving universal registration. PUICA will collaborate in the strengthening of that office to expand thus gradually registration services to all remote populations nationwide.
In 2010, and at the request of the Government of
Guatemala, PUICA conducted an audit of the
RENAP processes. A plan of action was formulated
at the legal level, processes, and information
technology, where the tasks necessary to provide
a solution to the problems presented by the RENAP
were defined. Debugging the data of the DPI was
established within these actions. A team of OAS advisors
together with the RENAP ran the project verification and
cleansing of data of the IPR, which took place between
December 2010 and August 2011.
More than 5.3 million records of DPI were verified.
Since September 2011, PUICA jointly with the Ministry of public health and the RENAP, has developed a pilot installation of auxiliary RENAP headquarters in 5 hospitals to facilitate timely registration before leaving the hospital of all babies that are born. Offices have been set up in Roosevelt Hospital, Quetzaltenango, Escuintla and Chimaltenango.
The project was funded by grants from the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID).
The Haiti project is made up of three components:
1. Support to the National Identification Office (ONI): To this date more than 4.8 million Haitians (85% of the adult population) now have been registered as a result of mobile registration campaign. In turn, the staff of the ONI has been trained, equipping the facility with the necessary technology and infrastructure to allow the opening of 141 offices across the country.
It is also important to note that PUICA accompanied the National Identification Office in the process of preparation for the 2011 presidential elections, supporting the reissuing of lost ID cards, issuance of new documents and distributing them.
2. Support to the National Archives of Haiti (ANH): More than 16 millones historical records have been digitalized in an electronic database, and 80 operators have been trained who are responsible for entering the information into the system.
3. Support to the registration of minors in the Civil Registry: The support in this area consists in the implementation of census campaigns, pilot registration projects in hospitals, and an effort to revise and modernize the law governing the national registration system.
This project is being implemented with financial support
of the Canadian International Development
PUICA also works with the National School of
Public Administration, Quebec, and with other
national and international actors.
The current PUICA project, which is being executed in a joined effort with the National Registry of People (NRP) aims to contribute to the improvement of the situation of registration in the area of the Chamelecon River in the region of San Pedro Sula while elaborating a diagnosis of technological infrastructure for the municipal offices. This initiative will be financed with funds from the United States.
In Mexico, the strategy is based on cooperation with the National Registry of Population and Personal Identification to promote civil identity nationwide. To that end, an international symposium on measuring under-registration of births was held, and a workshop on best practices in civil registration technologies was conducted, along with a number of publicity campaigns to promote the importance of civil identity.
Canadian cooperation funds have helped these projects to be financially viable.
With PUICA’s contribution of computer equipment and technical support, the staff of civil registry has digitized 2.943.000 of a total of 9.127.000 of birth, marriage and death records, already entered in the database. Interoperability is contemplated between the registry and other public entities in order to provide greater transparency in the management, minimize bureaucracy, generate reliable statistics and preserve original documents. The creation of the database of the Civil Identity Registry has been possible through non-reimbursable financial cooperation from the Canadian International Development Agency and a loan from the Inter-American Development Bank.
At the beginning of 2012, PUICA will support the Civil Registry by carrying out mobile registration campaigns in indigenous communities in the border with Bolivia, where a significant number of people do not have a birth certificate or identity card and therefore, have no access to state social programs. This project is funded by the German Agency for International Cooperation.
Through the system of mobile registration and publicity campaigns, more than 15,000 people have been registered in Peru. The campaigns were done in Huaycán, San Juan de Lurigancho, and Huancavelica. The records destroyed by the armed conflict with the Shining Path in this latter town were also reconstructed.
These projects were funded with help from Spain, USA, and Italy.
The Project for the promotion of the right to an identity in Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay and Peru contemplates several components. Four of them correspond to the execution of campaigns of registration and civil identification in the borders of Peru - Ecuador and Bolivia-Paraguay where sub-registration is severe. During the implementation of the project, civil registry institutions will receive technical assistance from PUICA in developing and implementing national methodologies to be exchanged between the countries contemplated in the project. As a result, civil registries will apply lessons learned and will be able to replicate these new methodologies in similar areas.
This Project is being executed with funds from the German Agency for International Cooperation (GTZ).
In addition to technical assistance projects, PUICA organizes regional activities such as meetings, workshops and activities of horizontal cooperation with other institutions of civil registry in the region.