Around three million babies born in Ethiopia each year were likely to join the millions facing discrimination in the East African country due to lack of official identification, according to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
“These children are deprived of their basic rights, and with no documentary evidence to prove how old they are or even who they are, they are likely to join the millions facing discrimination and the lack of access to basic services such as health and education,” said UNICEF Country Representative Bjorn Ljungqvist.
Speaking Tuesday at a consultative workshop on the establishment of a national vital events registration system, Ljungqvist said Ethiopia was the only African country with no law that demands for the registration of vital events.
Reaffirming UNICEF’s commitment to support Ethiopia to put the system in place, he noted that implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child was being compromised by the absence of a universal vital registration system.
Presently, Ethiopia has no system that enforces registration of births, deaths, marriage or divorce.
“The provision of legal birth and marriage registration certificates is critical for the protection of young women from the deeply-rooted problem of early marriage and related problems of fistula,” said Ubah Mohammed, State Minister in the Ministry on Women’s Affairs.
Participants of the workshop included Members of the House of Peoples’ Representatives, officials from federal ministries, regional administrations, UN agencies, non-governmental organisations and research institutions that have a prime responsibility in setting up vital registration systems in the country.
Source: Panapress – 15 April 2008