International Birth Registration Day Date in the current year: October 8, 2024

International Birth Registration Day International Birth Registration Day is observed annually on October 8. It is an awareness campaign that was launched to highlight issues with birth registration that are especially prevalent in certain regions and consolidate efforts to tackle these issues.

The documentation of births has been practiced since ancient times. In ancient Rome, for example, birth certificates of Roman citizens were introduced by Emperor Augustus in 4 AD. In many European countries, births were registered with churches for most of modern history. Government birth registration systems began to emerge in the second half of the 19th century.

The original purpose of birth registration was for tax purposes and to determine the available military manpower. Today, birth registration serves several important purposes. First and foremost, it establishes the child’s identity, including their name, nationality or nationalities, family relations, and age. Second, it gives people access to basic rights and services, such as healthcare, education, and social protection benefits.

According to statistics, more than 230 million children around the globe are not registered. Parents can fail to obtain birth certificates for their children for various reason. They include lack of knowledge about the importance of timely birth registration, limited access to registration services in remote rural areas, poverty, ethnic or religious background, armed conflicts, and major crises (for example, birth registrations dropped sharply in Liberia during the Ebola epidemic of 2014 and 2015). More than 100 countries in the world simply don’t have a fully functioning civil registration system.

Unregistered children are invisible to their governments; since they don’t have a legal proof of identity, they don’t “officially” exist in the eyes of the law. Children without birth certificates can be cut off from healthcare, prevented from attending school and receiving social assistance, etc. Unregistered children are more vulnerable to abuse, exploitation, and violence. Migrant and refugee children with no birth certificates are more likely to get separated from their family, since there is no proof of family ties, and face a greater risk of statelessness.

International Birth Registration Day was founded in 2018 by Johnson’s Baby. That same year, the brand partnered with the humanitarian organization Save the Children on “The Right Start”, a program supporting birth registration programming in the Middle East and Africa. The partnership lasted for three years; during this period, Johnson’s Baby and Save the Children reached an audience of more than half a billion people and helped parents of more than 17,000 children to obtain birth certificates.

Although the partnership between Johnson’s Baby and Save the Children is over, International Birth Registration Day lives on. You can get involved with the campaign by donating to an organization that works to make birth registration more accessible and spreading the world on social media with the hashtag #InternationalBirthRegistrationDay.

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