The lottery of birth
The lottery of birth

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The lottery of birth

3.1.4 A ‘passport to protection’

In many parts of the world a system to formally recognise that a woman has given birth is not yet in place.

UNICEF promotes registration for every child as it establishes the existence of the child under law and provides the foundation for safeguarding many of the child’s civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.

The collection of accurate data and the presentation of reliable statistics are also vital for the development of services (such as health and education) and for the monitoring of inequalities, such as gender inequality.

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What document that many of us take for granted may mean the difference between sickness and health, between safety and danger, even between life and death. A simple birth certificate, the official proof that a child's birth has been registered. Birth registration ensures that children are counted and may have basic services such as health, social security, and education. Knowing the age of children is central to protecting them from violence such as child labour, forcible conscription in armed forces, child marriage, trafficking, and facing trial as an adult. A birth certificate is a passport to protection, yet more than 200 million children below the age of five worldwide have not had their births registered.
ANTHONY LAKE (UNICEF Executive Director)
We must count every child because every child counts. UNICEF is committed to helping all countries achieve universal birth registration.
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