More than 220,000 Bulgarians are without Identity Documents
More than 220,000 Bulgarian citizens live without identity documents, according to a survey conducted as part of the National Advocacy Campaign "The Invisibles We See". These people are deprived of access to health and social and practically leaves them without a civic identity.
Experts shared in Pazardzhik what decisions can be made so that the number of Bulgarian citizens without personal documents becomes smaller.
Some of these people have never had an identity document, and others cannot renew their expired ID cards.
"The groups are quite large, about 100,000 and another 123,000, respectively, which was a surprise for most people, including us," said Snezhana Kostadinova, author of the study.
The number of people without identity documents has risen sharply since a change in the civil registration law 10 years ago.
"To get a document, you need an address registration, in order to have an address registration, you must either have a document for home ownership or the person who gave you shelter, fill out a declaration, to agree and to express a will and your consent that you can register there," Kostadinova said.
Most of the cases are lack of property documents or difficult to identify the owners in the Roma community.
"Those who don't have ID cards, the children, want from us sketches, where to get these sketches, to make ID cards, that's what they want," said a woman from the community.
Without an ID card, these people lose their civic identity, cease to exist in the legal world, become invisible, and their children become invisible.
"You know, the identity document is both a right and an obligation. If you don't have an identity document, you can't sign an employment contract, so you can't pay taxes, at the same time you can't go to a doctor, you don't have access to health services, you can't enroll to university, you may have problems enrolling your child with a GP," said coordinator Luba Batenberg.
To reduce the number of people without identity documents, experts suggest two main solutions.
"In general, we need a change in the law on civil registration and a change in the ordinance on the functioning of the unified civil registration," said Luba Battenberg.
"Or, in fact, to provide some kind of business address at the municipal level, which serves for these purposes the citizens who cannot provide for themselves. But at the same time, according to the law on civil registration, this address serves some services for the citizens, therefore the municipality cannot just give an address," said Snezhana Kostadinova.
The advocacy campaign within the "Invisible We See" is part of a project to improve maternal and child health "With care from 0 to 3". The leading organization under the project is the Pazardzhik-based IGA fund, which partners with non-governmental organizations from Sofia and Novi Pazar.
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