Lawyers For Human Rights Helps 6YO Finally Get Birth Certificate

lawyers for human rights helps 6yo finally get birth certificate

lawyers for human rights helps 6yo finally get birth certificate

It was a joyous occasion this week in Pretoria, South Africa, for a child, 6, who was orphaned at the mere age of five months when her mother died. The Tembisa Children’s Court, with the help of Lawyers for Human Rights, ordered the Department of Home Affairs to register her birth.

The little girl, only known as MJM owing to her age, finally has legal status in the country, with her great-granduncle and great-grandmother declared responsible for her care.

She was born in Johannesburg’s Rahima Moose Hospital. Her mother died before she had a chance to register her birth, while the whereabouts of his father or his family are unknown.

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Following her mother’s death, MJM was taken to Tembisa by her elderly relatives. They were desperate to take care of her when they became aware of her situation.

While the elderly uncle and the great-grandmother, who is currently in her 90s, tried every way possible to get a birth certificate issued for the child so they could adopt her, they were hit with numerous challenges.

According to Lawyers for Human Rights, the unwillingness of social workers to get involved in the matter heavily delayed the process of registering MJM’s birth with the department.

The problem didn’t end there….

The Home Affairs also made its own demand for DNA testing on the elderly relatives in order to obtain proof of a biological link between them and the child – even though there was sufficient proof of where the child was born and of her mother being a genuine citizen of South Africa.

The great-granduncle went to the National Health Laboratory Services to get the DNA testing done.

But when he returned to fetch the results, he was told they could not proceed with the DNA analysis as the testing process was not sensitive enough to determine distant relationships. In such cases, the test results would most likely come “unrelated”, they said.

The two relatives then, with the assistance of Lawyers for Human Rights, asked the court to order the Department of Home Affairs to get her birth registered.

The non-profit organisation said this judgement was important as it highlighted how vulnerable abandoned and orphaned children are as well as the unnecessary and unjustified bureaucratic challenges these innocent children are required to face.

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