About 1,500 Brazilians from the state of Pernambuco who did not have a birth certificate now have one thanks to mutirões (self-help work collectives) in the Greater Recife region and in the interior of the state in the last four months.
The children were the target of the project, but many adults who did not have the document themselves ended up getting it because one of the conditions to get a kid the certificate was that their parents had one.
2004 census data from the the IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistis) show that 21.4% of children 1.5 years old or younger in the northeastern state of Penambuco have no birth certificate.
The joint efforts were promoted by the General Control Office of Pernambuco state’s Supreme Court and was backed by local governnments as well as the Brazilian Association of Natural People’s Registrars and the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef).
Despite law 9534 from December 10, 1997, which guarantees a free birth certificate to every Brazilian who doens’t have the money to pay for the document, more than half a million kids are not registered before they are one year old.
The lack of this basic document does not only deny these boys and girls their fundamental right but also brings lots of problems when it’s time for them to get health assistance or a school.
Without this information authorities are also kept in the dark to implement vaccination and other child programs. It’s believed that in the Brazilian Northeast more than half of the children have no birth certificate.
According to the IBGE, more than 800,000 Brazilian children born in 2002 didn’t get their birth cerificate by the legal deadline. The situation seems to have worsened since then. It’s also estimated that at least 3 million Brazilian adults have no birth certificate or any other document for that matter.