By Nation Reporter
MEMBERS of Parliament (MPs) from more than 130 countries yesterday resolved that governments should ensure the right to a legal identity is upheld for every child by removing all barriers to birth registration.
The MPs noted that an alarming number of the world’s youngest people had no legal identity or the means of proving it.
It has been estimated that 230 million children under the age of five are unregistered at birth and one in every seven registered child do not have a birth certificate.
Adopting a resolution at the 134th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Lusaka, the MPs also highlighted the impact on access to education, welfare, health services and other basic rights on unregistered children.
The MPs observed that socially marginalized children were more vulnerable to human trafficking and forced labour, particularly during humanitarian crises.
The resolution identified a series of measures that parliaments could take such as adopt laws that facilitated the issuance of birth certificates free of charge or at minimum cost. There were also calls for the implementation of mobile applications that allowed authorized people to register births, for registry offices to be set up as close to people’s homes as possible, for women to be able to register children, and for registration to be digitized.
The IPU resolution also urges parliamentarians to promote campaigns on regularizing the status of children without a legal identity or papers which was in Goal 16 of the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals including a target on providing legal identity and birth registration for all by 2030.
The IPU resolution suggested the need for effective action on the issue as it had become ever more pressing with an estimated 60 million people in the world displaced by wars and conflicts, with numbers constantly growing.
IPU has in recent years initiated work with parliaments in East Africa, Latin America and South Asia to raise awareness on the importance of birth registration among MPs and to support outreach among rural communities.
The 134th IPU Assembly concludes today.