In the San Francisco Cronicle: Paternity trial shocks Egyptians
Court rules against famous actor, siding with mother, child This situation where children are not recognized by the state when no father is present. It is quite concerning to think about the range of social norms that are different in different cultural contexts that really limit peoples freedom to be full citizens. I am sure this is not the only example.
There are an estimated 2 million unregistered children in Egypt, according to Lamya Lotfey, a specialist on paternity law at the New Women Foundation, a Cairo-based feminist organization. Since the ministry of health refuses to issue a birth certificate without the father’s presence or consent, illegitimate children don’t officially exist unless the mother undertakes a legal process that can take as long as six years so the child bears the last name of the maternal grandfather. In the meantime, the child cannot obtain a passport, enroll in school or qualify for state-sponsored vaccinations. As a result, most unmarried women choose abortion or orphanages, according to Lotfey.
A group of nongovernmental organizations is lobbying for the right of all children to have birth certificates, regardless of a recognized father.