Is a Birth Certificate a must for your Child?

Is a Birth Certificate a must for your Child?

Birth registration is taken for granted in some countries as the norm following childbirth. However, in far too many cases, it is a vital stage in establishing a child's legal evidence of identification that is absent. Without it, children are invisible to their governments, which means they may miss out on their rights being protected and defended and crucial services like health care and education.

Around one-quarter of all children under the age of five are born in countries where births are not registered. These children's lives are important, but they can't be safeguarded if governments don't even know they exist.

What is birth registration?

The procedure of registering a child's birth is known as birth registration. It is a permanent and official record of the presence of a child, as well as legal acknowledgement of that kid's identity. At the very least, it provides a legal record of where the kid was born and who his or her parents are. In addition, birth registration is essential for a kid to get a birth certificate, which is his or her first legal proof of identification.

Not only is birth registration a fundamental human right, but it also contributes to the preservation of children's other rights, like the right to protection from violence and critical social services such as health care and justice. In addition, the information gathered from birth registration records assists governments in deciding where and how to spend money and what regions to prioritise for development programmes like education and immunisation.

What is the difference between birth registration and a birth certificate?

In general, birth registration is the process of formally documenting a birth with a government body, and a birth certificate is documentation provided by the state as a consequence of this procedure to the parent or caregiver. A birth certificate verifies that registration has taken place. Birth registration and birth certificates should ideally go hand in one. However, because the protocols for producing birth certificates differ by area, a kid may be registered but never get a birth certificate.                     

What happens if a child isn't registered?

The only legal option for a child to get a birth certificate is birth registration. This legal identification can aid in the protection of children from violence, abuse, and exploitation. Without a birth certificate, children cannot verify their age, putting them at a considerably greater danger of being coerced into early marriage or the labour market or recruited into the military forces.                                      

It can also help protect migrant and refugee children from family separation, human trafficking, and illicit adoption. Without it, young children are at a considerably greater danger of being stateless, which means they have no legal connections to any country, including a nationality.

Many youngsters cannot receive normal vaccinations and other healthcare treatments because they lack a birth certificate. They might be unable to attend a school or enrol for tests. As a result, their future work possibilities are highly limited, making them more likely to live in poverty.

In their adolescence, children will require this official identity for basic but crucial procedures such as establishing a bank account, registering to vote, obtaining a passport, entering the formal labour market, purchasing or inheriting property, or receiving social assistance.

How many children aren't registered?

In most high-income nations, birth registration is nearly ubiquitous. However, in low- and middle-income nations, one in every four children under five (166 million) is not registered. Moreover, half of these 166 million children reside in only five countries: the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, and Pakistan. Even if children are enrolled, they may not have documentation of registration. Worldwide, an estimated 237 million children under five do not have a birth certificate.      

Why do most children don't have a birth certificate?

There are several reasons why youngsters do not register. Most of these children come from lower-income families, reside in rural regions with limited access to registration services, or live in one of more than 100 nations without completely functional civil registration systems.

In other circumstances, parents may be uninformed of the need of birth registration. Cost is also a significant barrier, especially in village areas: parents may be unable to pay the expenditures involved with registration, such as travel to registration centres or late penalties.

Certain ethnic or religious minorities have lower birth registration rates than the national norm. This might be because their culture places a greater focus on other practises (such as naming ceremonies) or because they are marginalised, frequently living in rural locations or going unnoticed by their governments.

In addition, when it comes to registering their children, women do not have the same rights as males in many nations. As a result, some parents cannot register their children at all, while others may only be allowed to do so in the father's presence.

How is the absence of a birth certificate a gender inequality issue?

Women don,t have the same rights or abilities to register their Child's birth as males in many world regions. There are still 25 nations where women do not have the same legal rights as males to further pass on their nationality to their offspring. Gender discrimination in national laws and policies must be evaluated and amended to eliminate the detrimental effects on communities. A mother may encounter gender discrimination when attempting to register her Child for reasons such as not having an ID or marriage document or if the father was not present or mentioned on the birth form.

Women might be unable to register their children if the father is unknown or refuses to accept fatherhood for example, survivors of a disaster or incest. Birth registration discrepancies can further exacerbate existing gender inequalities in sectors such as education. There are 132 million out-of-school females globally, and these girls are more likely than out-of-school boys to never return to school. It is more difficult for them to do so since they lack a birth certificate. Girls who do not have their birth certificates and are unable to legally establish their age are also more vulnerable to child marriage. They are considerably less likely to complete their education.


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