One in three children under five do not officially exist: UNICEF

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UNICEF@PHOTO

Nearly 230 million children under the age of five don't officially exist because they have never been registered with civil authorities, according to a report released on Wednesday by the UN children's agency (UNICEF).

Claudia Cappa, Statistics Specialist with UNICEF’s Data and Analytics Section, says children without birth certificates cannot have access to education and health services.

"It's also important to recognize that birth registration and having a certificate means that children can demonstrate their age. And if they cannot, they cannot prove that they are children. They can be forced into marriage, or into the labour market, or into the army, and treated as adults when they are not. And in a context of emergency, a family cannot claim the existence of a child. Children can be trafficked and a family cannot actually demonstrate that these children—their own children—do exist." (29")

The report, titled "Every Child's Birth Right: Inequalities and trends in birth registration" is based on data collected in 161 countries.

According to the UNICEF report, the 10 countries with the lowest birth registration levels are Somalia, Liberia, Ethiopia, Zambia, Chad, Tanzania, Yemen, Guinea Bissau, Pakistan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The report has been released on UNICEF's 67th birthday.

Dianne Penn, United Nations
Duration: 1’26″

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