Wednesday, January 18, 2012

workday wednesday update

"Gloria," you say. "what is it you do all day? you're not actually paid by our Canadian tax dollars to just climb mountains in bikinis...are you?"

No, no, I do actually work regular 8-5 hours during the week, although you probably can't always tell with this blog. Because it's hump day wednesday, here's an update on some of the stuff i've been working on.

My organization has been tasked with helping the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration re-write the Births, Marriages and Deaths Registration Act. Currently the Act in power was put in place in 1963 and is left over from the South African apartheid days and is, to say the least, a little bit archaic. Before we put a new law in place, however, there are all sorts of issues to explore and who is better than the visiting young Canadian lawyers to get to research these issues?

The topic I'm looking at concerns the use of birth certificates as proof of citizenship. Here, not everyone travels outside of the country, so not everyone has a passport, and so sometimes it's hard to prove you are a Namibian citizen. So the Namibian government likes to use birth certificates as proof of Namibian citizenship. This can create practical problem for some people though. For example, foreign parents may be reluctant to register the birth of their children, even though it's important to register all births in order to ensure that children have access to social services and even the right to vote. All of this stems from the fact that Namibian citizenship criteria is a bit complicated and involves the concept of "ordinarily resident", which is a legal concept that is applied differently in every case. My task it to conduct a international comparative analysis of what other countries do to prove citizenship, especially with regards to birth registration.

I'm also helping to design a comic book! We publish many comic books every year, explaining to the public their legal rights and obligations in a manner that is fun and easy to understand. You can read one of the comics here. As an avid comic lover, this assignment pleases me immensely.