About birth registration
Birth registration is the process of recording a child's birth in a civil register. This is done by the relevant government authority and gives the child legal recognition. The child’s birth will need to be registered if they are to obtain a birth certificate and any other legal documents and rights.
Sometimes a birth certificate is issued to the child at the same time as they are registered; sometimes a separate application must be made. A birth certificate is crucial as it provides permanent, official and visible evidence of a state's legal recognition of the child’s existence as a member of society. Without a birth certificate, it is difficult for children to prove their legal identity.
"Only when I wanted to put my son in government school when he was 16 years old I realised that he needed a birth certificate. We were shunted around and also had to pay Rs.5001 to get the affidavit from the magistrate."
- Durga Bharati, India
Birth registration matters
A birth certificate means a child can more easily:
access social services, such as education and health care
prove how old they are, helping to protect against child labour and child marriage
have a national identity, making it easier to fight abuse and child trafficking.
For example, getting medical treatment, enrolling at school, inheriting property, preventing child exploitation and finding a job all rely on birth registration. It is a proof of identity and allows people to claim their basic rights.
These basic entitlements underpin a person's ability to keep healthy, be educated, stay safe and earn a living. Being denied even one of these can have a negative impact on a child's opportunities for a lifetime.
Although all except two countries around the world have committed to ensuring universal birth registration, this still hasn't been achieved. This campaign aims to change that.