“I feel better identified…” Having a legal identity is fundamental to human rights

Published: 21/Dec/2022
Source: UN Development Programme

By Sangita Khadka, Guilherme Larsen, and Risa Arai in UNDP Global Policy Network.

Percy Santos, a visually impaired college student in Honduras has acquired a technical degree in computer programming and having a new national ID has been like adding another feather in his hat. As one of the beneficiaries of the national ID project, he now has easy access to social benefits because it is a digital authentic ID validated by the government and not a paper ID anymore. “The new ID is designed perfectly for people like me. This is a personal fulfillment. I feel better identified.”

The UN Legal Identity project in Honduras has a special focus on Indigenous peoples, LGBTQI+, minorities and persons with disabilities.

Around 5.4 million people are now enrolled in the new population database in Honduras. This new system has also helped the Honduran authorities to create a more robust electoral database improving the voting system significantly in the 2021 elections. The initiative also helped to reduce distrust in the elections.

People who do not have legal identity, who cannot prove who they are, are likely to end up without opportunities, and very vulnerable in society. The chances of getting a job in the formal economy will be incredibly low. The likelihood of being mainstreamed into the country’s social protection system and benefitting from basic health care systems during pandemics like COVID-19 or during times of conflict or climate emergencies will be negligible. Absence of legal identity is likely to impact insurance, pension or even basic utility services like water, telephone, and gas connection.

The Sustainable Development Goal 16 is to “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.” Under that goal, Target 16.9 specifies that one of the ways to do that is to “By 2030, provide legal identity for all, including birth registration.”

Many countries are making attempts to either establish national population registers, national ID schemes, or digital ID programs.

The innovation and technology of the new ID systems is the cornerstone of digital transformation. It helps to improve efficiency in the government public service.

Read further for information on Sierra Leone, Zambia and Mozambique: https://undp.medium.com/i-feel-better-identified-61c5c4eba1d7



Themes: Birth Registration, ID Documents and Passports
Regions: International, Mozambique, Zambia, Sierra Leone
Year: 2022