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Civil Registration Of African Children Necessary For Human Rights, Access To Health, Education, Other Services, Conference Hears

“Birth certificates and other forms of civil registration of children in Africa are critical for their enjoyment of human rights and access to health, education and other services, an official of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) told a conference on the issue, in Durban, South Africa,” the U.N. News Centre reports. UNICEF Deputy Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa Elke Wisch said at the two-day Second Conference of African Ministers Responsible for Civil Registration, “Birth registration protects children from child labor, recruitment into armed forces and militias, human trafficking, early marriage as well as other forms of exploitation. … Birth registration is essential for children to access health care and education, as well as for orphans to inherit from their parents,” according to the news service (9/6). In a statement, UNICEF said only 38 percent of children under age five in sub-Saharan Africa have a birth certificate, SAPA/Independent Online notes. South African President Jacob Zuma said at the conference opening, “By not registering and planning for your people you are putting your country into difficulty,” the news service reports (9/6).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.