The Right Start
"We must count every child because every child counts."
Every child, everywhere, is born with the right to a name and an identity. Article 7 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child upholds a child's right to be registered at birth without any discrimination.
Birth registration marks the beginning of a child's journey in life. It makes that journey safer and more successful. It unlocks the door to health care, education and social benefits. It protects children from exploitation and abuse. It helps them exercise their rights as citizens.
Yet, around the world, 49 per cent of children under the age of 5 are not registered. They include children in Malaysia. These children have no birth certificate, no proof of age, no proof of biological parentage, no identification and no passport. They simply do not exist before the law.
Without a birth certificate, children have difficulty accessing school or medical services, without proof of age they become vulnerable to child labour and child marriage and are in danger of abuse, exploitation and trafficking.
Counting every child is also key for efficient planning. Good data is critical for planning schools, health systems and designing policies that take in to account the future needs of a country and her people.
For World Population Day on 11 July, let's make a promise to ensure each and every child is counted. By being counted, we enable them to take a crucial first step in their life's journeys.