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CRVS stakeholders, structures and coordination

CRVS assessments: Know your system
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Legal and regulatory frameworks

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Legal and regulatory frameworks

Objectives and definitions

While countries will define the objectives of their CRVS systems in slightly different ways, the overall objective should be based on the United Nations Principles and Recommendations for a vital statistics system (2014), which defines civil registration as:

“the continuous, permanent, compulsory and universal recording of the occurrence and characteristics of vital events pertaining to the population, as provided through decree or regulation in accordance with the legal requirements in each country.”

As such, the objective of any CRVS-related laws should be to ensure the system is:

  • Continuous – the civil registration system continuously adds new records and makes amendments to existing records as events occur
  • Permanent – records are preserved for future uses
  • Compulsory – registration of vital events is mandatory, not optional
  • Universal – registration should cover the entire country or territory. If all types of vital events cannot be recorded, then priority should be given to births and deaths
  • Confidential – those who provide information must be assured that it will be used only for the purposes prescribed by law and/or in aggregate form so that individuals are not identifiable. This is not part of the original definition but is critical. 

The law should also define common terms and the types of vital events to be recorded. The UN’s Principles and Recommendations defines 10 types of vital events, with top priority given to recording births and deaths.



Read more

United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Statistics Division (2014).  Principles and recommendations for a vital statistics system.  (Chapter I, Section A). United Nations, New York.

Vital events as defined by the United Nations Principles and Recommendations for a Vital Statistics System

Top priority

  • 1. Live birth . “The complete expulsion or extraction from its mother of a product of conception, irrespective of the duration of the pregnancy, which, after such separation, breathes or shows any other evidence of life, such as beating of the heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord, or definite movement of voluntary muscles, whether or not the umbilical cord has been cut or the placenta is attached.” (3)
  • 2. Death.  “The permanent disappearance of all evidence of life at any time after the occurrence of live birth, i.e., the postnatal cessation of vital functions without capability of resuscitation. This definition excludes fetal deaths.” (3)

Priority

  • 3. Fetal death.  “The death prior to the complete expulsion or extraction from its mother of a product of conception, irrespective of the duration of the period of gestation. Death is indicated by the fact that after such separation, the fetus does not breathe or show any other evidence of life, such as beating of the heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord or definite movement of voluntary muscles.” (3)
  • 4. Marriage.  “The act, ceremony or process by which the legal relationship of spouses is constituted. The legality of the union may be established by civil, religious or other means as recognised by the laws of each country. Countries may wish to expand the definition to cover civil unions if they are registered. In that case, registered partnership usually refers to a legal construct, entailing registration with the authorities according to the laws of each country, that becomes the basis for legal conjugal obligations between two persons.” (4)
  • 5. Divorce.  “The legal final dissolution of a marriage, that is, that separation of spouses that confers on the parties the right to remarriage under civil, religious and/or other provisions, according to the laws of each country. In the case where a country recognises registered partnerships, a legal dissolution of a registered partnership constitutes the legal final dissolution of such a partnership, according to national laws, which confers on the parties the right to enter into another partnership or marriage.” (4)

Lower priority

  • 6. Annulment of marriage.  “Invalidation or voiding of a legal marriage by a competent authority, according to the laws of the country, thereby conferring on the parties the status of never having been married to each other.” (4)
  • 7. Judicial separation of marriage.  “The disunion of married persons, without there being conferred on the parties the right to remarriage, according to the laws of each country.” (4)
  • 8. Adoption.  “The legal and voluntary taking in and treating as one’s own the child of other parents as provided by the laws of the country. By means of a judicial process, the adopted child, whether related or not to the adopter, acquires the rights and status of a biological child born to the adoptive parents.” (4)
  • 9. Legitimation.  “The formal vesting of a person with the same status and rights of a person born in wedlock, according to the laws of the country.” (4)
  • 10. Recognition.  “The legal acknowledgment, either voluntary or compulsory, of the paternity of a child born out of wedlock.” (4)

Source:
United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Statistics Division (2014).  Principles and recommendations for a vital statistics system.  (Chapter I, Section A). United Nations, New York.

Note: Page numbers for source definitions appear in parentheses


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