Unregistered Indonesian Children May Face Lifelong Difficulties

April 20, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. marginalized 
[MAHR-juh-nl-ahyzd] (adj.) – not being included, not given importance, or not having much power in society
Example: Scholarships will benefit the marginalized members of the population who have no access to education.

2. slums [sluhms] (n.) – part of a city where poor people live, usually full of people and with bad living conditions
ExampleSlums often lack basic necessities such as clean water and electricity.

3. red tape [red teyp] (idiom) – a required procedure to be followed that often seems unnecessary and time-consuming
Example: Sarah had to wait several months to get her passport because of red tape.

4. repercussion [ree-per-KUHSH-uh n, rep-er-] (n.) – an effect or result of an action, statement or decision; often a negative one
Example:  Difficulty in finding a job is one of the repercussions of dropping out of school.
5. administrative [ad-MIN-uh-strey-tiv, -struh-] (adj.) – relating to the management of an organization or institution, especially the government
Example: The administrative officer’s tasks include organizing meetings, writing reports and filing information.

Read the text below.

Plan, an organization that advocates on children’s rights, estimates that 30 to 35 million children in Indonesia are unregistered, most of them from poor and marginalized communities. Moreover, three million children add up to this number yearly.

A survey conducted by Plan revealed that 60% of parents in the slums of Jakarta have never applied for birth certificates for their children. The parents said they cannot afford to pay for birth registration. In addition, the registration process requires a lot of time and effort because of red tape.

Santi, a 26-year old mother from the slums, said she knows that her unregistered children could not go to school and would then have limited job options in the future. However, she barely makes enough money for food by collecting plastic bottles from the trash. Thus, no money is left for registration.

Failure to register a person's birth has serious lifelong repercussions. Without a legal identity, a person cannot have access to education and basic healthcare. An unregistered person would likewise not be able to vote, apply for a passport or get marriage registration.

According to Amrullah Sofyan, a project manager at Plan Indonesia, birth registration is very important because it gives rise to other rights such as citizenship, right to education and right to healthcare.

Sofyan added that the government does not take the problem seriously, only treating the issue as an administrative problem. But, he said that this issue is about a bigger matter – the right to have an identity.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Aside from those mentioned in the article, how else do you think  being unregistered affects a person‘s life?
·         In your opinion, how can the problem of unregistered children be solved?

Discussion B

·         Why do you think children are given their own special set of rights?
·         How can we ensure that children’s rights are not being violated?


April 20, 2013