News / Asia

UN Focus on Data Gaps from Unregistered Births

Ron Corben
Tens of millions of people living in the developing world are unregistered at birth - meaning there is no legal acknowledgement of their existence. The United Nations says such unregistered people not only have uncertain access to health care and schooling, but are also more vulnerable to human rights violations. A U.N.-backed meeting in Bangkok is discussing how to address the problem.

The two-day United Nations-sponsored conference brings together statisticians and economists from some 50 countries as well as the World Health Organization, and other U.N. and civil society groups, in a bid to make up for the shortfalls in civil registrations.

Noeleen Heyzer, U.N. undersecretary, says registrations are essential for safeguarding basic human rights and measuring the effectiveness of public policy.

“Unless people have a legal identity, they are not going to be taken seriously in government policies, they are not counted, they are excluded and people who are stateless, people without papers unfortunately do not have human rights as far as the state is concerned and they’re not accountable," explained Heyzer. "By making sure that people are registered at birth that they are cared for, their voices are obviously heard.”

Despite modern technology that makes creating and tracking registrations easier, the U.N.’s Children’s Fund says in 2011 just under half of births in Asia - excluding China - were registered.

Haishan Fu, director of statistics from the U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, says the paucity of reliable data poses a challenge for regional policy makers.

“Some estimates in the region have shown that one third to two-thirds of the children in this region are not properly registered. So, clearly for them accessing school opportunities are a huge issue. And, people who don’t really have the legal documents that they should have establishing their legal identity that they fully are able to access gainful employment,” Haishan said.

For the U.N., the issue about insufficient data puts at risk the credibility of the 2015 targeted Millennium Development Goals. Goals such as eradicating extreme poverty, gender equality, child mortality, maternal health, combating HIV/Aids and other diseases, as well environmental sustainability, all depend on accurate population counts.

Trevor Sutton, deputy statistician from the Australian Bureau of Statistics says data are essential to clearly measure social and economic progress.

“If you want to actually understand whether you have real progress on these Millennium Development Goals you really got to have civil registration statistics in place," he said. "It’s in everybody’s interest in the region, including Australia, to ensure that we build those systems to the point where we can actually measure progress in all societies in the region in a reliable way - I mean that really is quite critical.”

Sutton says confidence in the region’s data is essential to better target aid and assistance in areas across the health and social sectors to support further international donor support in key targeted areas.

The meeting will prepare a strategic plan to be presented to member governments in a further bid to overcome current shortcomings through faulty or incomplete data.

You May Like

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs