Birth Parents Rights To Knowing If Their Birthchild's Adoption Is Recorded And Registered.
Dear Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission,
How can birth parents find out if-
1.Their birth son or daughter is officially registered?
2.Their birth son or daughter is officially on the register?
3.Would a birth parent be entitled to this information under
sections 7 and 35 of the Data Protection Act 1998 in the UK?
4.What Human Rights would apply,if any for birth parents to have these rights to find out,and also for the child?
This request would not be to find out anything about the adopted child now,purely the 4 questions i have asked as i understand Parental Rights are lost after a birth child's adoption has gone through.I am asking about before this happens at a time the parent does maintain parental rights.
M M Simmons
Dear Sir or Madam -
Thank you for your request of 25 February for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, which was passed to me on 12 March.
On your fourth question regarding the applicability of human rights in this instance, I am forwarding your request to a colleague who deals with freedom of information enquiries and they will respond to you within the time limit of 20 days.
It is unlikely that we will be able to answer your first three questions as we do not hold information specific to adoption law and policy or the Data Protection Act 1998. For questions (1) and (2), you may wish to find out more about the law and policy in Northern Ireland from the DHSSPS website, here: http://www.dhsspsni.gov.uk/adoption_guid.... On question (3), regarding the interaction with the data protection legislation, you may wish to contact the Information Commission which operates a helpline on 0303 123 1113 (Weekdays, 9am-5pm).
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Dear M Simmons,
Thank you for your enquiry of 25 February 2012 which relates to the rights
of birth parents to access information prior to adoption. There are a
number of relevant human rights obligations with respect to registration
and access of information.
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights recognises the
right of children to be registered after birth under Article 24(1). The
United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child also recognises this
right under Article 7(1). In Northern Ireland all children are required by
domestic law to be registered within 42 days of their birth.
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights also recognises
the right to access of information under Article 19(2). This has been
explicitly confirmed by the United Nations Human Rights Committee in their
General Comment 34 on Article 19: Freedoms of opinion and expression.
Records of registration and adoption are held by the General Register
Office in Northern Ireland. It is possible to search these registers and
obtain copy certificates from the General Register Office. The contact
details are as follows:
49 - 55 Chichester Street
Telephone: 0300 200 7890
Further information on the registration system and process to apply for a
birth certificate can be found at the NI Direct website at
Access to original birth certificates is permitted once a child has
reached the age of 18 and can be obtained from the General Register for
Northern Ireland. Adoptions which took place prior to 18 December 1987
require that the adopted person must meet with a social worker from the
adoption team prior to obtaining birth records.
The General Register in Northern Ireland also maintains an Adoption
Contact Register which allows adopted persons and birth relatives to be
put in contact with each other. Further information can be found at
This is a brief overview of the relevant international obligations and I
hope this information is of assistance. Should you require further
information in relation to a specific example, please do not hesitate to
Rhyannon Blythe BL
Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission
39 North Street
Tel: (028) 90243987
Fax: (028) 90247844
Email: [email address]
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