There are no records of the existence for approximately half of all the children on the African continent, says United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

The births of these children were never registered, meaning the state knows nothing of their existence and are making no provisions for them, says Cornelius Williams, Regional Adviser: Child Protection at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

Williams, from UNICEF’s Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office, is one of the delegates at the 2nd Civil Registration and Vital Statics conference currently underway in Durban, South Africa.

“Could you imagine a child not having an identity, not having an existence written down and so you’re born, you live your life, you die and you never existed in any document…It’s like you were never there. There’s no official record of your existence as a human being,” he said.

Read more: Leadership, September 4 2012

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