Friday, February 16, 2007

Three Children: No Birth Certificates -- No Rights

Here is another example of the egregious violations of basic civil and human rights of the Egyptian Baha'is.

These are three Egyptian children deprived of their basic rights simply because they have Baha'i parents. The siblings, 5-year old Asser and 4-year old Sandrella Hany Ahmed Mousa, and their 1-year old cousin Mona Dia el-Deen Ahmed Mousa were born in the city of Ismailia located in the Suez Canal region of the country.

Starting five years ago with the birth of Asser, the parents of these children have been trying all means available to them to obtain birth certificates but had nothing in return except for denials and mockery.

In a complaint addressed to Egypt's National Council for Childhood and Motherhood and the National Council for Human Rights, the parents described the rejection and the humiliation they have been subjected to in their attempts to obtain birth certificates for their children. They also stated that they have been refused vaccination and schooling for their children as a consequence of the denial of birth certificates.

The reasons given to the parents as a justification for the denials are 1) the parents have no family ID cards and 2) their Baha'i marriage certificates are not recognized as valid in Egypt. Thus they do not exist as seen by the civil authorities governing these personal status matters.

After appealing to the various governmental agencies that sent them back to the the office of registration in Ismailia, they were told by the office employee that the deadline for registering their children had passed the required 15 days within which registration must have been completed, thus there was nothing he could do to help them.

In addition to being deprived of their right to education, the lack of vaccination--which is government-controlled in Egypt--makes these children susceptible to all childhood dangerous diseases, including Poliomyelitis, Diphtheria, Tetanus, Small Pox, Whooping Cough, Tuberculosis and Measles. They are also vulnerable to other diseases prevalent in that region such as Typhoid Fever, and Hepatitis-A & B.

When one of the parents respectfully asked the director of the Ismailia Public Health Authority: "if one of these children dies, would he or she be issued a death certificate?" In response, the man answered mockingly while swaying his head and smiling: "I'll give you a death certificate immediately, but I would never give you a birth certificate."

These three innocent children remain without recognition within their own homeland. All attempts at registering them have failed. They have been deprived of all due services by a government that is under the obligation to preserve the dignity, the rights to health care, the rights to education and the rights to citizenship to all its citizens as guaranteed by the State's constitution, and all universal treaties and declarations on human rights.


  1. This is getting really pathetic!!!!

    Here we have a government official who because they hold power has decided arbitrarily to deny another human being’s right for basic services just because they look at the world through different eyes!!! Gee,I wonder how the scientific world would be if Einstein was denied access to the world just because he was different or how the music world would be if Mozart was denied access to the world just because he was also different...

    Consider the pettiness of men's minds. They seek with utmost exertion that which profiteth them not, and yet wert thou to ask of them: "Is there any advantage in that which ye desire?", thou wouldst find them sorely perplexed. Were a fair-minded soul to be found, he would reply: "Nay, by the Lord of the worlds!" Such is the condition of the people and of that which they possess. Leave them in their folly and turn thy sight unto God. This is in truth that which beseemeth thee. Hearken then unto the counsel of thy Lord, and say: Lauded art Thou, O God of all who are in heaven and on earth!

    (Baha'u'llah, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 82)

    16:3 And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? 16:4 A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.

    (King James Bible, Matthew)

  2. It is essential that we receive a response from Egypt's Minister of Interior, Minister of Health and Minister of Education....

    The question is: what are you going to do for these children?

  3. A situation like this is unimaginable in most parts of the world. It is hard to conceive a situation where children have "no existence" according to their government. Even if their innocent parents have committed a crime, children DO exist and must not be deprived of education, immunization, and health care that every other Egyptian child is entitled to.

    If the Baha'is have broken any law, let them be charged and tried by a just court. The Baha'is are innocent of any crime, they are the best well-wishers for their country and co-citizens, and they abstain from any form of partisan politics. But to deprive them and their children of fundamental human rights because of their beliefs is unfair, unjust, inexcusable, and incomprehensible.

    If the Baha'is are denied these fundamental human rights, who should they appeal to other than the Ministers of Health, Education, Interior, the Prime Minister, and the President? It is time for the government to restore the human and civil rights of its citizens.

  4. Mr. Mahmoud Hamdy Zaqzouk (Egyptian Minister of Religious Endowment) and Chief Justice El-Saied Nofal (the leader of the Supreme Administrative Court of the State's Council) had the courage to support laws that deprive these three children of civil rights! Their courage was not the courage of the brave, but the courage of the cowards.

    In my country anyone who would suggest that three children were a danger to society would be called a comedian or a lunatic!

  5. Marco

    I may add the doctor who told the mother of the child he would give her a death certeficate immidiately but never birth certificate. How he justified giving a death certificate to a child who is not even existed according to the cowardly Court ruling? go figure?

  6. that Doctor SHOULD NEVER BE ALLOWED to practice medicine anywhere on the planet!!! suggest such horrible treatment to ANY PATIENT GOES AGAINST THE PRINCIPLES OF MEDICINE.... the WHO and AMA needs to be alerted to this sadistic sociopath!!!

  7. Nawal and Anonymous

    I would like to alert you to the facts as described in the blog. It is the director of the Ismailia Public Health Authority who said he would issue a death certificate but never a birth certificate. I am not sure if this director is a physician. Most likely he is an administrator who is following orders.

    His comments are naturally inexcusable. The solution does not lie in having this director suspended as every director of public health, and every government bureaucrat responsible for issuing identification documents, birth certificates, etc. in Egypt is following the same instructions provided by the government.

    Bureaucrats can be biased, can err, and can be prejudiced. The problem is not so much the bureaucrats as it is the biased court rulings and biased government policies that make the government and the courts abdicate their duty of protecting innocent minorities from the injustices of biased or prejudiced bureaucrats.

    Instead, the government appears to be using the Baha'is as a political scapegoat to divert public opinion from real issues the country is facing. The government, as evidenced by the Minister of Religious Endowments, and the Supreme Court, as evidenced by the Supreme Justice, are fueling hatred and promoting aggression against the Baha'is in Egypt instead of protecting them. There are more foxes in the hen house than there are hens.

    In civilized countries, anyone promoting hatred is charged with a crime. In Egypt, it seems that ministers and judges are promoting such hatred. Who will make them accountable? In my opinion, we need to put the spotlight on the innocence and sincerity of the Baha'is in Egypt on the one hand, and the absurdity of statements and rulings made by ministers and judges who incite hatred and promote violence against them on the other.

  8. It is clear that the responsibility for such atrocities must be attributed to those in control. It should also be clear that this does not justify the functionaries to behave in such a flippant manner. Mockery and humiliation have no place when dealing with human rights, particularly when it involves children. This scenario sounds so familiar if we just pause and recall the atrocities of the Second World War when subordinates made excuses that they were simply following orders.

    Those of us who have lived in Egypt know very well that the functionaries have a great deal of leeway and independence in their decision-making, allowing them to have become dangerously powerful. Just contemplate the widespread prevalence of bribery and corruption in the system, contributing to the common belief that anything is possible in Egypt--provided that one has the right connections and/or has contributed an amount of cash as expected...after all this is how many of these grossly underpaid employees make their living to support their extended and large families.

  9. Strange similarities.

  10. For the link in GH's comment, click here. People of the world need to look more closely at the past, and should always remember "never again!"

  11. I cannot help but think of my own grandchildren as I read this story. It is outrageous that prejudice reinforced by twisted judicial logical should put the lives of these beautiful children at risk and deprive them of the rights to which they are entitled as young citizens of Egypt.

  12. Barney,
    It is becoming harder and harder to look at the faces and the eyes of these innocent children. Fortunately, because of their age, they may not be personally aware of their own dilemma; and by the time they grow up and realize what they have been through, their difficulties would have been resolved and the world would become a better place for all the children.


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