An unprecedented campaign to encourage voluntary recognition of paternity is being promoted in all the registry offices of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The initiative was taken by the Association of Notaries and Registrars of Rio de Janeiro (Anoreg, Associação dos Notários e Registradores), which has conducted previous campaigns on behalf of registering children and now hopes to sensitize men to include their name on documents in which only the mother’s name appears.
The campaign, which is being announced in 46 outdoor panels in strategic locations around the city, is based on concrete facts. According to the president of the Anoreg, Alan Borges, the problem applies to 70% of the cases of children registered in the poorest areas of Rio and is also present in districts in the southern zone, such as Copacabana, where 20% of the birth certificates include only the mother’s name.
Borges affirmed that many men are still reluctant to assume paternity. The most common reasons are: imagining that the registration costs money, wanting to put off pension payments, believing that the father should accompany his companion to the registry office, or working in another state.
He pointed out that, even if the father is far from home, his name can be included on documents through contacts between registry offices.
Another problem, which is more common among middle and upper-class women, is so-called "independent production," when the mother doesn’t wish to include the father’s name on the child’s registration.
"The right to know the father’s name pertains to the child, not the mother," Borges affirmed.