By Summer Wood,
New York University
Having a birth certificate is a basic human right, established by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (art. 15), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (art. 24), and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (art. 7). A birth certificate is regarded as the ‘first human right’ and can provide a gateway to the realization of many other civil, political, economic, and social rights for children, including access to health and education services, and protection from human rights violations such as child labor, child marriage, trafficking, and criminal prosecution as an adult.