The International Anglican Family Network (IAFN) has launched a global campaign to register births. The network is calling on Anglican churches to partner with government and other agencies to ensure that babies born in 2012 and after are registered.
“More than just a legal formality, birth registration opens the door to education and healthcare,” the IAFN said in a recent news release. “Without it, people may not be able to obtain a passport, own a house or land, or marry.”
The network points out that more than one-third of children never have their births registered, “and so are significantly disadvantaged in their childhood as well as in their adult life. They are officially invisible; in a sense they do not exist.”
Among the worst outcomes for someone whose birth was never recorded is that they are easily exploited in human trafficking, and as child soldiers and laborers, said the IAFN’s Ian Sparks.
In its latest newsletter, IAFN makes clear the problems that can work against birth registration. For example, in Papua New Guinea, registrations are paltry because families have to travel long distances to log a birth. The result there is that only one per cent of the 260,000 children born each year are registered.
“Belonging is important to all human beings,” IAFN president Bishop James Tengatenga told ENI via e-mail. “Children, like the rest of us, need an identity and a nation or state to belong to. This is an inalienable right.”