The Syrian regime’s embassies and consulates have recently ceased the registration of births in several countries, including the UAE. They now require residents abroad to dispatch the birth certificate to a relative inside Syria for registration, accompanied by exclusive payment of fees in USD.
Salem, a 45-year-old resident of the UAE, recounted to Syria TV that the regime’s embassy in Abu Dhabi refused to register his newborn son last week. Instead, they instructed him to send the birth certificate to a relative in Syria. The embassy employee did not provide reasons for the halt in registering new births.
Consequently, Salem’s father encountered difficulties in registering his grandson. According to Salem, his father narrated the process: “Upon receiving the birth certificate, my father attempted to register it in Qatana. There, he was directed to the Civil registrar (General Administration – Marja). Subsequently, after registering, he was instructed to proceed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for ratification.”
At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Salem’s father was surprised when the certifying officer demanded a $50 certification fee, deviating from the equivalent in Syrian pounds based on the regime’s Central Bank exchange rate.
Salem clarified that his father managed to obtain $50 from an intermediary who converted the fees from Syrian pounds to dollars, paying them as certification fees due to the unavailability of the amount in USD. He then returned to the central souls to affix his signature on the birth certificate, endorsed by the Foreign Ministry.
Consequently, Salem’s father was compelled to pay $50 and an additional thousand pounds in commission, a practice contradictory to the 2020 legislative decree No. 3, which prohibits the use of non-Syrian pounds as a means of payment.
The consular department’s website within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs specifies that fees for document attestation must be paid in Syrian pounds.
A generation of Syrians without identity
According to a lawyer in Damascus, the Syrian Civil Status Law No. 13 of 2021 provides two avenues for birth registration. The first involves registration through the Syrian diplomatic mission in the country of residence or where the incident occurred. The second allows the submission of documents to any civil registration center in Syria for registration, eliminating the necessity to visit a Syrian diplomatic mission.
In an interview with the Syria TV website, the lawyer clarified that the law permits the use of the second method if, for any reason, registration through the diplomatic mission is not feasible. Importantly, this allowance is not contingent on the refusal of registration by consular or embassy personnel without a corresponding decision or explanation.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.