U.N.: Register every baby born

R.A. Hettinga rah at shipwright.com
Thu Feb 24 04:44:11 PST 2005



Wednesday, February 23, 2005

U.N.: Register every baby born
Desmond Tutu launches global campaign, claiming unlisted children 'nonentities'
Posted: February 23, 2005
4:23 p.m. Eastern

Desmond Tutu in New York urging registration of all children

The United Nations is supporting a new campaign urging governments around
the world to register every newborn child, and it's getting help from South
African Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

 ''It is, in a very real sense, a matter of life and death,'' the Nobel
Peace Prize winner said at a New York news conference. ''The unregistered
child is a nonentity. The unregistered child does not exist. How can we
live with the knowledge that we could have made a difference?''

 The campaign, called "Write me down, make me real," is backed by UNICEF
and calls on governments to record the estimated 48 million children whose
births go unregistered each year.

 Sixteen years ago, the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child told
countries to register every baby immediately after birth. Every nation has
ratified the convention except two, the U.S. and Somalia.

 The aid agency Plan USA has released a report titled ''Universal Birth
Registration - a Universal Responsibility.'' While it acknowledges it's
impossible to know for sure how many unregistered children actually exist
because they're not counted, estimates have suggested the figure is over
half a billion.

 It lists percentages of children not registered by region:

 Sub-Saharan Africa: 71 percent

 South Asia: 63 percent

 Middle East and North Africa: 31 percent

 Asia Pacific: 22 percent

 Latin America/Caribbean: 14 percent

 CEE/CIS and Baltic states: 10 percent

 Industrialized countries: 2 percent

 "Governments worldwide are failing the world's children, as millions of
youngsters without a birth certificate find it very difficult to prove
their age or nationality," said Thomas Miller, Plan's chief executive.
"Children without birth certificates are far more likely to find themselves
without access to education, health care, civil rights or inheritance laws.

 "And parents whose children go missing during disasters like the tsunami
or because they are abducted by traffickers may even be unable to get help
with tracing their sons or daughters because they cannot prove the age of
their children - or in many cases that their children even exist."

R. A. Hettinga <mailto: rah at ibuc.com>
The Internet Bearer Underwriting Corporation <http://www.ibuc.com/>
44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
"... however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity,
[predicting the end of the world] has not been found agreeable to
experience." -- Edward Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'

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