Archbishop of Johannesburg: Every child has a right to know who they are

Published: 13/Jun/2024
Source: Vatican News

The Archbishop of Johannesburg reiterates the Church’s commitment to responding to statelessness in the Southern Africa Region.

By Sr Katleho Khang, SNJM

In Southern Africa, many poor and marginalised children are exposed to statelessness due to a lack of birth certificates, legal identity and nationality. Many of those who are born in rural and remote areas face the threat of child labour, forced marriages, and human trafficking. They are often also deprived of education, social and health services.

According to a report from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in 2022, an estimated 19 million children under the age of 5 are without a birth certificate in Southern Africa. It is against this backdrop that multi-religious leaders, diplomats and civil society organisations from the region met on 13 June in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Campaigning to end statelessness

Archbishop Buti Tlhagale, OMI, of Johannesburg was present at the conference. Speaking to Vatican News, he highlighted the “urgent task of encouraging our governments to adopt the practice of issuing birth certificates immediately after birth registration, a good and standard practice in the Region”. Archbishop Tlhagale is a member of UNHCR-Religions for Peace Multi-Religious Council of Leaders and a supporter of the UNHCR’s iBelong Campaign, which aims to end statelessness.

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Themes: Acquisition by children, Birth Registration, Statelessness
Regions: Southern Africa, South Africa
Year: 2024