Research on behalf of UNICEF to develop a Legal Atlas on child’s right to identity

Child Identity Protection (CHIP) has been awarded by UNICEF a consultancy to develop a comprehensive Legal Atlas that captures the relevant laws pertaining to the child’s right to identity (birth registration, name, nationality and family relations).

Significant efforts are now underway led by the UN Legal Identity Agenda and others to ensure universal birth registration and legal identity, which has primarily focused on strengthening civil registration. Nationality and family relations have received far less attention, despite the risks and opportunities associated with the legal identity agenda for the enjoyment of these identity rights. Further work is needed in terms of preserving all these key elements of child’s right to identity, with questions arising about the use of new technologies, such as biometrics and assisted reproductive technology.

Despite the objective of laws to create a society that is just and equal, they may sometimes be drafted and/or used in a way that discriminates against certain group and results in their exclusion. It is therefore important to equip UNICEF staff and other professionals with a better understanding of the complexities of existing laws and ways they are being used to protect or deny the child’s right to identity.

The research project seeks to collect up to date birth registration laws on about 30 countries where there are significant numbers of children who are not registered (e.g. West and Central Africa, Asia and Latin America). The laws will be analysed in terms of the key questions relevant to alignment with articles 7-8 of the CRC, for example :

– Who can register a child / who cannot register the child (e.g. single mother, unmarried) ?

– Other registration conditions (e.g. costs, time period, where and penalties )?

– What is registered (e.g. name, nationality, parent (s), DOB, gender, place )?

In consultation with UNICEF, a country template will be developed with key questions and answers, in order to ensure comparability of information. CHIP looks forward to undertaking this research which will eventually feed into a Legal Atlas on child’s right to identity, which should lead to a better protection of the right.

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