Key practice: Birth registration
Every child's right to a name and nationality
• Notify the birth of your child for registration as soon as possible after birth and obtain a birth certificate.
• Birth registration is free, accessible to all, and conducted for each newborn child immediately or as soon as possible after birth.
Why is birth registration important?
Birth registration is the process by which a child’s birth is recorded in the Civil Register by the government authority called National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA). Every child has a right to a name and nationality. Birth registration therefore is important because it:
- Serves as proof of parents before the law to provide legal protection for their children.
- Establishes citizenship and nationality of the child.
- Proves the legal relationship between parents and a child.
- Facilitates access to education and health care services.
- Offers protection against exploitation, including trafficking, illegal adoption, child labour, child marriage and early military recruitment.
- Facilitates access to services and special provision for children in difficult circumstances.
- Facilitates future employment in the formal sector.
- Facilitates future financial assistance including access to credit, loans and micro-finance schemes.
- It is important that parents register their children and get a birth certificate for them so that they can access services easily.
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What are the benefits of birth registration?
- Birth registration is a vital step towards protection from abuse and exploitation.
- Birth registration provides an official record of a child’s existence and nationality. It is considered a fundamental human right.
- Any enforcement of minimum-age legislation depends upon an official record of a child’s age. For example, a birth certificate can be used to protect a child from illegal recruitment by armed forces or armed groups, from child marriage or from hazardous forms of work.
- A birth certificate is the most visible evidence of a government’s legal recognition of the existence of a child as a member of society.
What if a child is not registered?
- If a child is not registered at birth and has no birth record, he or she will not have a birth certificate with all important proof of their name and their relationship with their parents and the state.
- A child without a birth certificate can be denied health care, legal services, access to school and the right to vote upon reaching adulthood.