How does birth registration open up access to justice?

Birth certificates are the key documents establishing that a person exists in law. They enable people to assert their rights vis-à-vis a state and to establish their nationality. Later, they enable people to obtain a passport and, if they choose, to marry.

Despite clear regulations, there are children born in Germany who do not receive a birth certificate. Thechildren in question have a parent or parents who are not in a position to present documentary proof of their identity. This may be, for instance, because they had to flee their country of origin and sought asylum in Germany.

Social workers and registrars play key roles in connection with the issuing of birth certificates: social work practitioners explain the importance of a birth certificate to refugee mothers or parents, and by doing so support their access to justice, and registrars are the persons responsible for issuing the official documents. Article 7 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) states that every child must be registered immediately after birth; this process encompasses the issue of a birth certificate.

In the project, the National CRC Monitoring Mechanism created the website This website draws together key information relating to all aspects of the registration of births and to the application of the relevant statutes in conformity with children’s rights. It serves as a resource enabling registrars and social workers to find answers to questions of practical relevance quickly and easily, as well as background information and references to relevant literature.

The project was supported by an advisory board, which assisted with the conceptual design and ensured that the project reflects the perspectives of practitioners in the field. The project was funded in part by the CMS-Stiftung. It began in early June 2021 and ended on 31 December 2021.

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