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Birth registration is the basis for advancing gender equality and children’s rights

Many people take their birth certificate for granted. It is an unremarkable bureaucratic certainty in many lives, tucked away in a drawer or filing cabinet until it’s needed to obtain a driver’s license or passport, or to register for marriage or divorce. Rarely do the bearers of these documents appreciate them for what they truly represent — a fundamental human right to a name, a document that establishes family ties and relationships, and an important tool for social protection.

In the developing world, the absence of a birth certificate can be seen and felt in powerful ways. The births of approximately 230 million children under age five — 35% of the world's total — are unrecorded. Without a birth certificate, individuals are easily deprived of their rights.

Irina Dincu; Deirdre Appel; Shaida Badiee
International Development Research Centre
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