Girls Count

An Opportunity for
You to Take Action

In the time and place where we live, the registration of live births is taken for granted. A child is born; a birth certificate is recorded.

Why do we do this? Because, when births are recorded promptly and accurately, doors are opened. Opportunity is enhanced. A birth certificate is the child’s guarantee of access to education, health, and social services. Later in life, they will be able to vote, work, and own property.

But, in some parts of the world, not all births are recorded.

In fact, by some estimates, 200 million children lack an official identity, name, and nationality. This makes them vulnerable to a range of abuses — human trafficking, child labor, illegal adoption, etc.

So, here’s an opportunity for action.

Representative Steve Chabot (Ohio) has introduced a bill in Congress — “The Girls Count Act” — and it needs your help. The UN Foundation has set up an online petition so you can record your support for the bill. Here’s the Take Action LINK.

Basically, the Girls Count Act is about registering the birth of every child who is born in the world — especially girls. The Girls Count Act would authorize the Secretary of State to direct a portion of U.S. foreign assistance to help ensure that all girls are counted and have access to birth certificates and other necessary documentation.

The bill doesn’t require the expenditure of additional funds. It simply authorizes existing funds to be spent for this special purpose of protecting a vulnerable population.

This is how our friends at the Girl Up Campaign describe the need:

“Why Count Girls?

“Approximately one person in twelve around the world is a girl or young woman aged 10 – 24. Yet many developing countries do not account for the number of girls in their population. Due to an unavailability of systems to count these girls, and sometimes simply due to a lack of political will, girls will be denied birth certificates or other forms of official identification.  This means that as a girl grows up it will be difficult, if not impossible, for her to attend school or get a job in the formal business sector. She will not be able to own her own or inherit land, start her own business, or vote. She will likely be confined to the home and left unpaid – an invisible member of society.”

Currently, the Girls Count Act has 9 co-sponsors. It has been assigned to the House Foreign Affairs Committee. We want to ask our Members of Congress from Oklahoma to become co-sponsors.

You can find more information about the Girls Count Act on the “Girl Up” blog.

Article 6 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides that, “Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.”

One of the basic ways that we protect this right is by recording the birth of every child — guaranteeing that their identity is recognized by the community in which they live.

Please express your support for the “Girls Count” Act … Thanks!

One in Three Children Under Five
Does Not Officially Exist – UNICEF

On December 11th, UNICEF (the United Nations Childrens Fund) released a new report showing that the births of nearly 230 million children under age five have never been registered. That’s about one in three of all children under five around the world.

“Birth registration is more than just a right. It’s how societies first recognize and acknowledge a child’s identity and existence,” said Geeta Rao Gupta, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director. “Birth registration is also key to guaranteeing that children are not forgotten, denied their rights or hidden from the progress of their nations.”

The new report, “Every Child’s Birth Right: Inequities and in Birth Registration,” (PDF) collects statistical analysis spanning 161 countries and presents the latest available country data and estimates on birth registration.

UNICEF is using innovative approaches to support governments and communities in strengthening their civil and birth registration systems.

READ MORE

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