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Our Children, Our Future: Belonging and Legal Identity

Date: 17 - 18 October 2016

Our Children, Our Future: Belonging and Legal Identity

In close partnership with the League of Arab States (LAS), UNHCR is pleased to announce the first Regional Expert Meeting on Belonging and Legal Identity in the Arab Region in Cairo on 17 and 18 October 2016.
Cairo, Egypt
Public event

Syrian children play in a nursery in the Akcakale refugee camp in southern Turkey. To date, the camp houses 9,693 Syrian refugees.

Belonging is a foundation for people to thrive, reach their potential and be more secure in their families, communities and countries. Longstanding traditions in the Arab region recognize the right of all persons, and children in particular, to belong - to enjoy family life and unity and to have a name, an identity, a birth certificate and a nationality. But global and regional crises are threatening to leave millions of people, including children, in the margins.

As the crisis in Syria entered its sixth year, conflicts in the region including Iraq, Yemen, and Libya threaten to affect millions. Children are at greater risk due to increased family separation and difficulties in obtaining birth certificates. Unregistered children face risks at each stage of life, including higher risks of illegal adoption and trafficking as infants, denials of health and education in childhood, early marriage and child recruitment during adolescence and, possibly, the inability to be recognized as a national.

Humanitarian emergencies in the region are posing new challenges to civil status documentation in many contexts. Internally displaced and conflict-affected families report significant difficulties in obtaining, renewing and replacing civil status and identity documents, while refugees are often unfamiliar with the procedures to do so in their new countries of residence.

With the region facing these unprecedented challenges, there is a need to examine how partners in various sectors can work together. The Regional Expert Meeting on Belonging and Legal Identity in the Arab World will convene a broad array of experts from LAS member States, civil society, and academic institutions to jointly map the causes and protection challenges related to the lack of documentation and legal status, share good practices, and develop shared recommendations to achieve solutions. 

Event in partnership with the League of Arab States
League of Arab States