Friday, November 18, 2016

Children born in Mosul do not have citizenship

Children born in Mosul in the past two years have not received documents verifying their identity or citizenship under rule by the "Islamic State" group, authorities said.

Children born under ISIS rule in Mosul do not have the legal documents needed to prove they are Iraqi citizens.

"We haven't been able to issue any Iraqi documents for these children who were born since August 2014 since it has been difficult to establish their parents' origin," the exiled director of Mosul's health office told Rudaw.

Health officials said that, although accurate data is difficult to collect, thousands of children have been born in Mosul under IS rule over the past two years.

One child, Hamza, was born in Mosul's Salam hospital more than a year ago but still does not have proper documentation, like many other children.

"He doesn't have Iraqi identity card nor the citizenship. I don't know. The hospital gave us a piece of paper and said the government will do the rest," his mother said. "He was born in Salam hospital. He has no ID. It is his right to have Iraqi ID. This is his birth certificate."

Hamza's mother fears her son's lack of documentation could limit his future access to healthcare and education.

The Iraqi government has largely postponed issuing Iraqi citizenship to foreigners since 2003 in an attempt to block refugees from neighboring countries becoming citizens which could disturb regional ethnic demographics in disputed areas, such as in the Kurdistan region. Iraq's Constitution says any person who lives in Iraq for eight years can apply for citizenship.

Mosul's medical department is waiting for Iraqi security forces to fully liberate the city from the Islamic State before addressing the issue of undocumented children.

"We will check to see if their papers are authentic. If they are, our specialized committee will decide to take next steps," a medical department official said.

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