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Asia's uncounted births threaten child rights

The ABC reports: Asian nations have vowed to take action over millions of unregistered births, saying the situation denies children access to education and healthcare, and makes them vulnerable to exploitation. A UN conference in Bangkok attended by representatives of 25 nations heard that two-thirds of the world's 50 million unregistered births each year are in Asia.

"Without this first document, all other rights are put in jeopardy: the right to a nationality, to health care and education," said conference organisers UNICEF and child welfare organisation Plan International in a statement.

"Without an official identity, children are far more vulnerable to exploitation, trafficking, child labour, early marriage and military recruitment."

The registration of newborns is a right enshrined in the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which is ratified by all governments in the region.

But UNICEF says the poor and marginalised are most likely to be denied their registration rights, with girls in particular being vulnerable.


10 Jan 2003