The South Korean government has launched an initiative to protect newborns who are left unregistered in a bid to support them with emergency measures and follow-up care. “The government must guarantee the protection and care for every baby born to this land by having them properly registered,” declared President Moon Jae-in.
Presided over by Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyeom, a steering session was held over state affairs on Thursday to discuss measures to protect unregistered newborns. The government has proposed such measures, considering the time it will take for the enforcement of the Act on Birth Notice, which was submitted to the National Assembly last month after its announcement for legislation was made in June last year.
The government has committed to running a program to identify unregistered babies during a dedicated period between April and November by launching probes into their resident registration along with child protection agencies. In addition, it will also run a task force dedicated to supporting undocumented babies in each local municipality to offer administrative, legal and welfare services.
The government has also committed to supporting the passing of the birth notice bill currently submitted to the National Assembly. Once the bill is passed, parents must provide information including the mother’s name and registration number, the gender of the newborn and the specific date and time of birth to the head of local government.
In January 2019, The Dong-A Ilbo published an article titled “Invisible Haeun (false name),” raising awareness on the need of a birth notification system in place. Haeun died in December 2010 only two months after birth, but her death remained unknown for seven years as her parents did not have her registered.
During the meeting, President Moon urged his officials to map out a set of thorough measures based on the current law to prevent any newborn baby in South Korea being neglected even before the bill is officially legislated.