Om­buds­man wel­comes de­fin­i­tive judge­ment au­tho­ris­ing reg­is­tra­tion of child born at sea

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

The Par­lia­men­tary Om­buds­man yes­ter­day wel­comed the de­fin­i­tive judge­ment of the Court of Ap­peal de­liv­ered on 30 Septem­ber 2016, au­tho­ris­ing and or­der­ing the Di­rec­tor of the Pub­lic Reg­istry to regis­ter the birth of a child born at sea.

Her mother, of So­mali ori­gin, gave birth on a boat car­ry­ing 70 other ir­reg­u­lar im­mi­grants that even­tu­ally sank. The mother and child were res­cued by the Armed Forces of Malta and trans­ferred on a ves­sel fly­ing the Rus­sian flag the Ye­lena Sha­trova.

Since the res­cued im­mi­grants could not be trans­ferred onto the ves­sel of the Armed Forces of Malta be­cause of in­clement weather, the Rus­sian ves­sel was au­tho­rised to en­ter port in Malta where the mother and child landed and were given sub­sidiary hu­man­i­tar­ian pro­tec­tion.

In a state­ment, the Om­buds­man noted the dec­la­ra­tion of the First Hall of the Civil Court that the child had the fun­da­men­tal right to be reg­is­tered and to have a na­tion­al­ity and that this right had to be re­spected. He also noted that the law as it stands, is un­clear and that the amend­ments pur­posely made to pro­vide for such even­tu­al­i­ties did not ad­e­quately cover all cases in­clud­ing those of a child born in such cir­cum­stances sim­i­lar to those of ap­pli­cant.

The Court of Ap­peal in its judge­ment de­clared that it was of the opin­ion that the leg­is­la­tor did not in­tend to ex­clude the reg­is­tra­tion of chil­dren born at sea and brought to Malta in cir­cum­stances sim­i­lar to that of ap­pel­lant.

The Om­buds­man there­fore rec­om­mends that the law is re­vis­ited and clar­i­fied to pro­vide for the reg­is­tra­tion by the Di­rec­tor of the Pub­lic Reg­istry of the birth of all state­less chil­dren born at sea who are brought to Malta as their first port of call.

Ad­e­quate safe­guards should be made to en­sure that such ex­cep­tional reg­is­tra­tion is not abused of by un­de­serv­ing ap­pli­cants.

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