Legal basis

Legal basis

And yet, there are real legal foundations for the right to a legal identity, including among others…

  • The 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights specifies the right of every child “to be registered at birth and to have a name”.
  • The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 16.9) of the United Nations states that: “By 2030, provide legal identity for all including free birth registrations”.
  • The International Convention on the rights of the child of 20 November 1989 specifies that all children have the right to registration of their birth without discrimination.
  • The African Union’s 2063 agenda makes it a point of honour to defend birth registration with the organization of the African Identity Day (August 10​th​ ) and decrees the period 2017-2026 as the “Decade of repositioning of civil registration and vital statistics in Africa”.

Identification, a primary right

The obligation on states to register births is recent: it dates to the last century.

The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) ​ grants everyone’s right to their own
identity. This right is again internationally recognized by the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which reaffirms the right of children to protection, a name and a nationality.

Considering these provisions, birth registration is a fundamental, universal and unconditional right.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child adopted by the United Nations GA on November 20, 1989, provides in Article 7, the right to birth registration and legal identity: ” The child is registered as soon as he is born and has the right to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and, as far as possible, the right to know his parents and to be brought up by them ”.

Birth registration is also included in the Sustainable Development Goals (​ SDG 16, target 9​ ), as a right, a development accelerator and a lever for gender equality.