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Cambodia introduces CRVS law to expand legal ID issuance

Cambodia introduces CRVS law to expand legal ID issuance

New legislation has been introduced in Cambodia to establish a new digital civil registration, vital statistics and identity management system it can use to issue legal identity to all residents, according to reporting from the International Bar Association.

Few countries have comprehensive laws for civil registration and vital statistics, according to the report, and many have no legal backing for CRVS at all.

Cambodia is attempting to pass such a comprehensive law, covering registration of births, deaths, marriages and divorces for citizens and non-citizens, including stateless residents of Cambodia.

The government hopes to implement the new law this coming July. Between now and then, the government intends to train CRVS workers on the new system. A workshop for 700 officials has already been held.

Past efforts by Cambodia’s government to upgrade the country’s CRVS system have come in the form of sub-decrees, which have proved ineffective. Only 47 percent of deaths in Cambodia were registered, as of 2017, the report states.

A National Strategic Plan for Identification for 2017 to 2026 was created, and the government approached the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Data for Health Initiative to partner with it to develop the CRVS law in line with the plan. The Data for Health Initiative also includes global public health organization Vital Strategies and the Global Health Advocacy Incubator.

Cambodia revealed plans in 2022 to issue digital versions of ID documents to ease online service access in line with the ten-year strategy.

HE Sante Bandith Mao Chandara, secretary of state for Cambodia’s Ministry of Interior, says in a statement that the legal reform will strengthen the country’s identification and civil registration management system, with benefits to the legal system and human rights.

The new law would lower the burden of documentary evidence needed to register, and enable registration from anywhere in the country.

The Global Health Advocacy Incubator is also working with governments in Bangladesh, Indonesia and the Philippines on draft CRVS laws. The Vietnamese and Malaysian governments are also working on updated policies, according to the Bar Association.

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