The bill that guarantees equal access to education for children without IDs, voted by the Romanian General Assembly

The bill submitted by Romanian MP Oana Bizgan, alongside other over 60 women MPs from all political parties, that claims equal access to education for children without IDs and social security number, was voted on Wednesday in the General Assembly. The bill passed with unanimity of votes – 282.

This bill will change the national education law no.1/2011 to allow children without identity documents to register for school. In addition, the staff of school units where children go for registration, have the obligation to immediately notice the authorities to start the social registration process and assign them IDs and social security numbers.

”Even though the equal access to education for all citizens is one of the rights guaranteed by our Constitution, children who don’t have identity documents can’t access this right. Therefore, there are cases when children cannot go to school and those are not situations they are guilty for or they can solve. Our wish is to stop the perpetuation of a systemic issue and, at the same time, to draw authorities’ attention to this topic. Our children education should come first for all of us, no matter the political affiliation and this is the reason I believe this cross-party collaboration of women MPs is important. I want to thank to my colleagues who supported this bill from the beginning!”, declared Oana Bizgan.

”After the right to life, the right to education is the second most important right a person has. The fact that in our country still exist people who don’t have a social security number means to deny them any possibility to overcome their condition. Through the bill that just passed, we bring to front an inclusive and proactive approach: the children without IDs will be registered in schools and the schools will help with the social registration process.” says Roxana Minzatu, Romanian MP.

The right to education is guaranteed by both Romanian Constitutions and the International Convention Romania is part of, like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. According to the authorities, there are over 160 000 people who don’t have any ID and most of them are children. In the absence of those documents, not only those directly involved, but the whole community will suffer the consequences that may imply increased risk of poverty and social exclusion, illiteracy, violence and other abuses or even human trafficking.

”The children who don’t have the papers demanded when enrolling in school have no guilt for these situations. They are not responsible for not having a social security number. The Government has the duty to engage and rectify this discriminatory situation – having an equal start in life is an essential right for any child.” mentions Mara Mares, Romanian MP.

”We talk here about the equality and the universality of the rights and freedom any citizen has: the right to free education. As a pediatrician and a member of Health and Family Committee, I want to point out that we have the obligation to be sure that Romania, as a EU member, does not have individuals without IDs and especially children who can’t go to school because of that.` adds Maricela Cobuz, Romanian MP.

”With this bill we make two important steps forward. On one side, we make sure that all children can exert their right to education and can be registered in the national social security system. On the other side, this is the second collaborative project of women MPs from Romanian Parliament, what proves that there are causes – children well-being is one of them – that overpass the political borders and bring us together.” says Lavinia Cosma, Romanian MP.

The bill was submitted to the Parliament in May, 2018. General Assembly was the first chamber that was referred. This is the second bill that was initiated exclusively by women MPs from all the political parties, the first one, regarding Increasing the age of children that are institutionalized into residential centers from 3 years to 7 years old, passed the Parliament.

Oana Bîzgan is a Romanian Member of Parliament and a Young Global Leader, member in the Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men and the Committee for Economic Policy, Reform and Privatization in the General Assembly. Oana Bîzgan already put forward a number of ambitious legislative initiatives such as the punishment of street harassment, psychological harassment at the workplace, civil partnership in Romanian law and a National Automated Register of sexual offenders and predators.