In order to fully enjoy the civic rights of Rwandan citizenship, every child must have their birth declared so that they receive proper documentation.
Article 100 of Nº32/2016 of 28/08/2016, the law governing persons and family, says that the declaration must be made within 30 days after birth. The primary persons who are responsible for reporting the birth of a child are his/her parents or anyone who has parental authority.
If the parents of the child are absent, for instance in case they suddenly die, any other person who is present or a close relative can make the declaration.
In order to declare the birth of a child, the person responsible presents a medical certificate issued by the health facility where the child has been born. If the child has not been born in a health facility, article 100 of the law governing persons and family says that a birth certificate with the names of the parents and the date of birth has to be presented in the presence of two witnesses who are above 18.
It is best if a child is born in a health facility because according to 101 of the law governing persons and family, “Private and public health facilities keep a special register used to record births occurring therein in order of the dates of birth.”
If the child has been born in a prison, his/her parents can provide permission to the director of that facility to register the birth.
If a new born child is found abandoned and his/her parents are therefore unknown, the person who has found that child has to register his/her birth within 30 days. This is according to article 102 of the law governing persons and family. The civil registrar will then issue a provisional birth record.
The provisional record has to indicate the presumed place and date of birth, and the circumstances under which the child was found. This information can later be annulled and replaced upon request if the child’s birth record is found or if his/her birth is declared by court.
Article 103 of the law governing persons and family explains the process of declaring the birth of children who are born to parents who are not married to each other. In this case, the parents of the child have to be informed first before the child is registered under their names.
Stillborn children and those who die immediately after birth are not declared. This is according to article 104 of the law governing persons and family. However, if the child has not been declared at birth and then later on dies, he/she is registered in the record of births and also in the record of deaths.
If a person’s birth has been declared, article 105 of the law governing persons and family says that they have the right to be given a copy of his/her birth record. This record cannot be given to anyone else apart from parents, children, spouse, guardian or legal representative of that person without legal process.
Those who do not declare their children’s births within 30 days are liable to paying a fine. But if a person who has no parents requests for a birth record, they can receive it without paying a fine.