Obama case highlights power of humble birth cert
Published 30/04/2011 | 05:00
the furore over President Barack Obama's birth certificate must strike a chord for millions of people across the world. If Mr Obama had been born in Kenya or Indonesia, it is unlikely he would have even received a birth certificate, long-form or otherwise. Even today, around half of all babies born in those countries do not receive one.
The subject of nationality, citizenship and 'Birthers' questioning his constitutional right to govern is what has got so many people hot under the collar, but it has also highlighted the power of the humble birth certificate. This piece of paper has the potential to unlock doors that would otherwise remain closed to many. A formal identity gives children access to a state education, health and social services and allows the right to vote, work legally, open a bank account and inherit land and property.
Lack of formal ID leaves children vulnerable to trafficking, early child marriage, hazardous labour, risk of imprisonment in adult prisons and conscription as child soldiers.