International standards provide clear identity protections for every child. In particular the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) notes:

Article 7
1. The child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents. […]

Article 8
1. States Parties undertake to respect the right of the child to preserve his or her identity, including nationality, name and family relations as recognized by law without unlawful interference.

2. Where a child is illegally deprived of some or all of the elements of his or her identity, States Parties shall provide appropriate assistance and protection, with a view to re-establishing speedily his or her identity.


Name and nationality were mentioned with family relations, in Article 8 CRC to explain the scope of “identity”. The focus on “family relations” in Article 8 was proposed by Argentina in 1985 after the fall of that country’s dictatorship during which children had been illegally removed from their families.

The term “family relations” stresses the importance of children knowing their wider family, beyond their biological parents, notably his or her origins (“family identity”). Complementing these CRC articles, among others, Article 25 of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance provides safeguards whenever the child’s identity is incomplete or falsified. Likewise, when more than one State is involved, the Conventions adopted by the Hague Conference on Private International Law provide identity protections. In particular, Articles 16 and 30 1993 Adoption Convention requires that information concerning the identity of the child’s parents be preserved. The international community has agreed to the Sustainable Development Goals, whereby Goal 16.9 requires that States, “by 2030, provide legal identity for all, including birth registration.” The International Commission on Civil Status also has developed important Conventions that allow for cross-border recognition of identity documents.