Foreign Affairs Plans Dumping Birth Certificates As Passport Document

Following the contentious argument by the Supreme Court that birth certificates are useless documents in terms of identifying Ghanaians citizens, the Foreign Affairs Ministry has hinted that it will scrap the document from its list of requirements for acquiring Ghanaian passports.

The Minister of Deputy Foreign Affairs, Mohammad Habibu Tijani took a cue from the controversial judgment of the Supreme Court, saying a birth certificate is not a valid document to prove a person’s true identity as a Ghanaian because there have been instances where some persons have presented fake ones.

“Passports, before any applicant is considered for the Ghanaian passport, we have a number of factors that come into play. It is true that birth certificates have been one of the fundamental requirements for getting a Ghanaian passport. But I want to also add that it is not only the birth certificate because sometimes we are able to detect that people have the birth certs but they are not even genuine ones,” he told Accra-based Joynews.

However, it is a common knowledge that passports are also faked extensively in Ghana.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry insists that he sides with the Supreme Court’s degradation of birth certificates.

Birthe certificates are the most important primary document required to secure a Ghanaian passport. The Website of the Foreign Affairs Ministry still posts this requirement. It is unclear how and when the Ministry will scrap that requirement and what it will be replaced with to verify citizenship.

The Deputy Minister claims when birth certificates are finally scrapped from passport requirements, it will not affect the validity of current passports that were secured through birth certificates.

  “…we were thinking of working closely with the NIA because if every Ghanaian has an identification, it will be easier to have to credible information about their identities.”

Meanwhile, it appears the Akufo Addo administration is of the consensus to start scrapping birth certificates. The Deputy Attorney General Godfred Dame noted that birth certificate is a mere record of birth and not proof of Ghanaian citizenship.

He said the birth certificate which bears the names of one’s parents and their nationality is not enough to prove that an individual is a Ghanaian

“The fact that you are born on the land of Ghana does not mean you are a citizen. When it is stated here [on birth certificate] your mother is a Ghanaian or your father is a Ghanaian when there has not been any verification…it cannot be evidence of citizenship,” the Deputy A-G stated on Accra-based Joy FM.

 “A birth certificate is not a form of identification. It does not establish the identity of the bearer. Nor does it link the holder with the information on the certificate. Quite obviously, it provides no evidence of citizenship,” the Supreme Court verdict said in part,” he said.

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