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Sudan’s government and partners renew commitment to universal birth registration

Khartoum, 25 January 2012: Ways of promoting birth registration and mobilising traditional and non-traditional partners to reach hard-to-reach newborns and thereby protect the rights of all children were discussed at a two-day conference that ended here today.

“Every child has the right to birth registration. It is a fundamental right that is integrally linked to the right to nationality, the right to citizenship and ultimately to the right to health and education,” Sudanese Social Welfare Minister Ms. Amira al-Fadel Mohamed told participants. “Sudan used to have the best record in Africa for birth and civil registration,” she added. “We must reclaim our fame.”

The importance of building a broad partnership around the issue of birth registration was reflected in the conference’s attendees, who included government officials from federal and state, senior police officers, social workers, non-government organisations and representatives from UN agencies.

Inaugurating the workshop, Sudan’s Minister of Interior Mr. Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid said: “I call upon our partners to join hands with us to reach out to all people including nomads, IDPs (Internally Displaced People) and foreigners.”

Speaking at the event, Mr. Ray Virgilio Torres, UNICEF Sudan Officer-in-Charge, pointed out that as many as 40 per cent of Sudanese children are currently absent from civil registers by the time they reach school age.

“Most of these children are from the poorest households and from rural communities,” said Mr. Torres. “No one knew they existed so nobody planned for them”.

“Most of these children are from the poorest households and from rural communities,” said Mr. Torres. “No one knew they existed so nobody planned for them”.

With only 25 per cent of mothers estimated to be aware about the need to register their children, birth registration promotion is critical step towards ensuring rights of all children. In addition to protecting human rights, birth registration is also considered an important tool for national and state-level planning, as the data collected can be used to predict demand for services.

Experts say children who do not have birth certifications are vulnerable to abuse and exploitation and at risk of being denied access to key social services.

The Khartoum workshop was organised by the national Universal Birth Registration Task Force, established by a Ministerial decree from the Ministry of Interior and the Sudan Police Force, in collaboration with the National Council for Child Welfare, UNHCR, UNICEF and Plan.

UNICEF is on the ground in over 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF’s work visit: or

For more information, please contact: Simon Ingram, UNICEF Chief of Communication, Sudan Tel + 249 156 553 670 x 306 Mobile +249 912 177 573 Email



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