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Sri Lanka will continue to include “race” in birth certificates, reversing previous decision not to

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will continue to include “race” (ethnic identity) in birth certificates issued to citizens despite a previously announced decision to discontinue the practice, Registrar General N. C. Vithanage confirmed today.

However, new birth certificates will no longer have the “were parents married” question which is “prejudicial to some children”,  Vithanage said in a statement issued this afternoon. Meanwhile, religion was never mentioned in the national birth certificate, he added, responding to confusion regarding yesterday’s widely reported decision to replace “race and religion” with “Sri Lankan” as nationality.

“The national birth Certificate introduced in 2019 has been designed to meet national and

international standards with the most secure strategies and international standards while

eliminating the shortcomings of the former birth certificate,” the official said in today’s statement.

The following new features have been added to new birth certificates:

  1. Named “National Birth Certificate” instead of “Birth Certificate”
  2. Prepared in both languages
  3. The identity number given at birth is included
  4. Prepared digitally using a “more protected” paper
  5. Includes a quick response code, a code number, and a watermark with a hologram sticker
  6. Issued under the signature of the Registrar General

“The National Birth Certificate does not include details of a religion. That did not even exist in the former Birth Certificate. In addition to “race”, the race of the parents is also included. The National Birth Certificate has not yet been made public and is planned to be issued on completion of the relevant procedures,” Vithanage added.

Yesterday’s news of a decision to remove “race and religion” from the birth certificate was met with largely positive response, with commenters on both sides of the political divide welcoming the move. Samagi Jana Balavegaya Candidate tweeted the following:

https://twitter.com/fernandoharin/status/1286156595265597440

However, Minister Wimal Weerawansa expressing his opposition to the decision said yesterday that the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) will not allow such a proposal to be implemented. The firebrand minister intervened to reverse the decision, having taken the matter up with Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. (Colombo/Jul23/2020)

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