Nearly a third of Namibians under 5 years of age have no legal existence. ... Fifty-one million children born in 2007 were not registered, of whom 9.7 million were in sub-Saharan Africa. In Somalia, scarcely 3% have a birth certificate.
This absence of legal existence works many harms on families and children.
-- Le Monde article, written in Windhoek, Namibia, and based Progress for Children: A Report Card on Child Protection, a just-released UNICEF report. The problem described by Le Monde stands at odds with Article 16 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which states: "Everyone shall have the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law." The news article attributes the problem both to governmental deficiencies and to cultural practices. It also offers other sobering statistics to be found in the report; for instance: "More than a billion children now live in a country or territory plagued by armed conflict. 5.8 million of them are refugees, living outside their birth country."