Based on 2014 Census data, out of 51 million population, more than 11 million people (over 10 years of age) are found undocumented. The current identity card (Citizenship Scrutiny Card) was issued in 1985 and forwards but many people are still left unidentified. Among many reasons why they were not issued, most common factors are;
- People do not feel civil documents are important.
- They have no prior knowledge how to access to legal documents.
- 1982 Citizenship Law and Rules are seen quite rigid and applicants need many supporting documents.
Braveheart deploys community-based paralegals to mobilize and educate local communities about the importance of civil documents, steps to apply them and supporting documents required. People need to be convinced about the bad consequences of lacking legal documents. This would affect not only them but also future generations who are at risk of being stateless.
Braveheart paralegals are assigned to identify undocumented people in their respective areas, educate them about the importance of civil documents, encourage them to apply, and assist the clients in application process. Sometimes they have to help the clients to collect the supporting documents. Currently we are implementing two pilot projects in Hlaingtharyar of Yangon Region and Kengtung of Shan East.
Documentation and Research
Simultaneously, Braveheart explores the common barriers why people are blocked to access to civil documents. We keep tracks of the progress of application process we assisted and put those data into a secure database for further systematic analysis. That makes us understand more about the common barriers and why people get frustrated when applying. Then we produce policy briefs to inform policy makers and respective stakeholders.
ToT on Citizenship Education
The number, more than 11 million of undocumented people, is very scary and it could be solved only when civil organizations actively participate in this initiative. 2014 Census data also shows that undocumented people are in every township. Therefore we share our experience with other CSOs through ToT on Citizenship Education. Based on our experiences with clients, a training manual was published and shared at ToT sessions across the country.
If an application for civil documents gets stuck or more information about the application process is needed, we can be reached on Facebook page “Braveheart Foundation”. Any question related to the application process could be asked there. Every query will be responded within a day or two.