Home Editorial It is not enough to exist

It is not enough to exist

Fernanda Mira*

Not infrequently, in more distressing moments, the thought crosses us: “who am I? Where do I come from? Where am I going?”. Merely rhetorical questions, especially the first two, because we only need to look at a small card that we all have in our wallets – in Portugal it is called the Citizen Card, but it can carry other names, among them the most common Identity Card – so that these ‘doubts’ are dispelled.

It is this little card that guarantees us the name, the ancestry, the place where we were born, the country to which we belong. We seldom see the true dimension of its importance, so that we take our existence for granted.

But not quite. It is not enough to exist to … exist.

As well? So how can a person not exist, existing?

It can. There are millions of people in the world who do not exist. According to the latest data provided by Unicef, there are 166 million children under the age of five who have not been officially registered. There are 166 million “invisible” children – even so Unicef ​​calls it. These children, quite simply, do not exist in the eyes of governments or the law. Without proof of identity, they are excluded from access to education, medical care and other benefits or services provided by States.

How can anyone face, complain, demand if, quite simply, it does not exist?

In an attempt to check the true dimension of what I am talking about here, I note: in Guinea-Bissau only 24 percent of children are registered! One of the lowest rates in the world.

I leave you the transcript of Article 7 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on November 20, 1989):

The child is registered immediately after birth and has the right to a name from birth, the right to acquire a nationality and, whenever possible, the right to know and be educated by his parents.
States Parties guarantee the realization of these rights in accordance with national law and the obligations arising from relevant international legal instruments in this field, particularly in cases where the child would otherwise be stateless.
This is a real fuel for exploitation and abuse of all kinds.

How can anyone face, complain, demand if, quite simply, it does not exist?

*Publisher of Plataforma’s Portuguese channel

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