WHAT DOES INTERNATIONAL LAW SAY?

International standards provide clear identity protections for every child. In particular the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) notes:

 

Article 7
1. The child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents. […]

Article 8
1. States Parties undertake to respect the right of the child to preserve his or her identity, including nationality, name and family relations as recognized by law without unlawful interference.

2. Where a child is illegally deprived of some or all of the elements of his or her identity, States Parties shall provide appropriate assistance and protection, with a view to re-establishing speedily his or her identity.

FAMILY RELATIONS

Name and nationality were mentioned with family relations, in Article 8 CRC to explain the scope of “identity”. The focus on “family relations” in article 8 was proposed by Argentina in 1985 after the fall of that country’s dictatorship during which children had been illegally removed from families linked to the opposition, stripped of their identity and placed for adoption with families supportive of the regime. 





The term "relations" stresses the importance of children knowing their wider family, beyond their biological parents, notably his or her origins. Complementing these CRC articles, among others, article 25 of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance provides safeguards whenever the child’s identity is incomplete or falsified. Likewise, when more than one State is involved, the Hague Family Conventions provide identity protections. In particular, articles 16 and 30 1993 Hague Convention requires that information concerning the identity of the child’s parents be preserved. Most recently the international community has agreed to the Sustainable Development Goals, whereby Goal 16.9 requires that States, “by 2030, provide legal identity for all, including birth registration.”

 

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