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Over half of African children lack legal identity – AU

Over half of the children in Africa lack legal identity and are denied their ability to fully enjoy their human…

Over half of the children in Africa lack legal identity and are denied their ability to fully enjoy their human rights, the African Union Commission has saidStatistics show that the continent has made progress in improving birth registration in the last decades. However, with the fast growing population, projections show that the number of children not registered at birth will continue to increase to exceed 100 million by 2030.

 

“If no immediate measures are taken to ensure every child has legal identity, the situation will stall the realization of the ambitions of both the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and the African Union to reach universal registration respectively in 2030 and 2063,” the AU said on Wednesday in a statement.

 

The right to a legal existence is the first right for every human being on the planet. This legal existence triggers the right to health, education, protection from abuses and exploitation. The right to a legal identity is concretely embodied by a crucial document, the birth certificate, which establishes the child’s name and affiliation.

The legal existence is not only at the core of all rights, it is also the ability for a nation and its Government to design and monitor all basic services.

 

However, to convert this situation into an opportunity to finally put an end to the indignity of invisibility for children in Africa, additional measures must be taken, the statement said

 

Member States are therefore called to waive the fees that frequently apply to birth registration, representing one of the major bottlenecks for access among vulnerable population groups, extend or lift deadlines for late registration, simplify procedures for registration and establish waivers for missing documents.

 

So far, only a few countries in Africa guarantee birth registration free of charge.

 

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