Below is a translation of an article by Dr. Basma Mousa, an Egyptian Baha’i activist:

Today, Egypt celebrates Children’s Day and on this occasion I have a question to ask: what fate will befall a newborn child who was refused a birth certificate by the Department of Civil Status? The child, born on the 9th of November, now joins the list of Baha’i children in Egypt who lack identification papers for no other reason than their religious adherence.

Shihab Shady Mousa was born on the 9th of November to Baha’i parents, and the Department of Civil Status maintains its refusal to issue him a birth certificate. For the past 7 years, Baha’i families in Egypt have been facing a similar scenario, and instead of celebrating the new arrival, they begin a long, arduous journey to secure identification papers for their child.

3 separate court rulings have been issued (2 on the 29th of January, and the latest on the 11th of November) granting Baha’is the right to list a dash “-” under the religion field in official documents, and no appeals have been issued by the Ministry of Interior to challenge the rulings. However, the the Department of Civil Status maintains its refusal to act in accordance with the rulings.

The injustice that Baha’i citizens in Egypt are subjected to is in violation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and Egypt’s children’s rights laws.

The new computerized birth certificates come with a National Identification Number, and because Shihab and many other children like him are denied birth certificates, they are considered non-existent in the eyes of the state.

Is it right to deny these innocent children vaccinations, and deny their mother maternity leave, simply because their faith differs from the majority?

As we mark the 60th anniversay of the ratification of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and celebrate the International Day of Tolerance, we kindly ask the Department of Civil Status to spare us Baha’is our long journey in search of identification documents.

The circular below was distributed by the Department of Civil Status in July to its branches and health centers in which it affirms that only three religions (Judaism, Christianity or Islam) can be listed under the religion field.