“AZERBAIJAN: Will Christian children now get birth certificates?” From Forum 18, with thanks to Ali Dashti:
Having repeatedly refused to register 18-month old Luka Eyvazov’s birth, because his parents gave him a Christian name, the authorities have at last given him a birth certificate, after Forum 18 News Service reported his case. Unusually, the authorities also apologised to Luka’s parents “for making us wait and suffer for so long,” Luka’s mother Gurayat Eyvazov told Forum 18. Without a birth certificate, Luka was not able to go to kindergarten or to school, get treatment in a hospital, or travel abroad. Luka’s case was the last known case of a series of Baptist parents in the mainly-Muslim town who were refused birth certificates for their children because they had chosen Christian, not Muslim first names. However, Mrs Eyvazov said it was unclear if the next time Baptist parents try to register a child’s birth with a Christian name they will face similar refusals. “Officials said nothing on this.”
At the age of nearly 18 months, Luka Eyvazov has finally received his birth certificate just weeks after Forum 18 News Service reported the authorities’ repeated refusals to issue a birth certificate because they did not wish to register him with a Christian name. Luka’s parents, who are ethnic-Georgian Baptists, live in the small town of Aliabad in the north-western region of Zakatala [Zaqatala] close to the border with Georgia. “The town administration phoned my husband on 17 December to say the birth certificate would be there and he collected it on 20 December,” Luka’s mother Gurayat Eyvazov told Forum 18 from Aliabad on 10 January. “They said they had no permission earlier to issue the birth certificate and even apologised to us for making us wait and suffer for so long.”
Luka Eyvazov is the fourth child of Novruz Eyvazov, the leader of one of three Baptist congregations in Aliabad.