Birth registration: An essential first step toward ensuring the rights of all children

Abstract

Birth registration, the official recording of a child's birth by a government agency, is one of the most important events in a child's life. Birth registration establishes the existence of the child under law and provides the foundation for ensuring many of the child's rights. Although birth registration alone does not guarantee that a child will have access to adequate health care, receive an education, or be free from abuse or exploitation, its absence leaves a child at greater risk of a range of human rights violations. Despite the importance of birth registration, according to UNICEF, approximately 50 million newborn babies are not registered each year, accounting for over 40 percent of the children born annually. This short article examines the right to birth registration and the implications of birth registration for the child's civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.

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