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News note

For every child, a birth certificate

PRESIDENTIAL PALACE, ANTANANRIVO, 4 June 2004 – For the first time in Madagascar, through the combined efforts of the country’s Presidency, eight ministries, civil society and international partners including UNICEF, the Prime Minister launched a national campaign to ensure that every child receives his or her birth certificate.

There are approximately 2.5 million unregistered, unrecognized children in Madagascar – about 30% of the total child population. The reasons these children – half of whom are above the age of five -- remain unregistered are many and vary from a lack of understanding about the importance of registration on the part of parents to limited capacities in some regions to provide births certificate within the 12 days prescribed by the law.

EKA, the national birth registration campaign, launched today in the presence of the parliament, journalists and the diplomatic corps, intends to tackle these problems by waging a huge door to door campaign informing parents, authorities and children around the country of this unalienable right as well as organizing mass retroactive registration sessions.

This programme, which is estimated to cost US 5.3 million over the next three years, will also build the capacity of local authorities to improve the registration process.

“The right to a name and nationality is one of the first rights of a child,” declared UNICEF’s Representative to Madagascar, Barbara Bentein. “To appreciate the realization of a child’s rights in a country, it is important that at the very least that child is recognized as a human being.”

Misbah M. Sheikh
Communication Officer
UNICEF Madagascar
Tel: (261-20) 22 626 45/46
Fax: (261-20) 22 628 45
Mobile: (261-33) 11 892 83
Email: msheikh@unicef.org




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