Visibilizing the Invisible: Advances, Challenges, and Recommendations to Guarantee the Legal Identification, Nationality, and Name of Children on the Move in the Americas

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Photo of report cover with migrant girl holding passport Cover Photo: Proyecto Nacionalidad, Clínica Jurídica de la Universidad Alberto Hurtado de Chile

The lack of identification documents is a situation that affects 850 million people worldwide. Although the lack of legal identification is a phenomenon that affects people regardless of age, it often disproportionately impacts children, especially during early childhood. As a result, children on the move often face multiple human rights violations, which may include the arbitrary denial of nationality and statelessness, human trafficking, forced recruitment, child labor, risk of child marriage, as well as the refusal to access economic, social and cultural rights, such as health and education.

The lack of registration of a person's birth certificate means that, throughout one's life, one has no documentation to prove one's identity, including one's name, nationality, and parentage. Moreover, it creates the conditions for a person's statelessness, which occurs when a person is not considered a national by any state according to its legislation. In other words, the person becomes legally invisible.

This report analyzes (1) the advances and challenges of children's rights to legal identification in mixed migration movements in the Americas, (2) the content and scope of the right to identification, (3) the importance of birth registration to guarantee the rights to legal identification, nationality, and name, (4) some good practices in the Americas, and (5) the conclusions and main recommendations for policymakers in the Americas.



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