Senegal: Mobile courts deliver birth certificates to children living in rural areas

Children displaying their comics “Amadou, under the shadow of statelessness” during a mobile court exercise in Mbacké department, Senegal @UNHCR / Désiré Ngom

In Senegal, raising awareness on birth registration is particularly important in areas far from the urban centers. Registration rates are considerably lower in rural settings and children risk growing up completely undocumented and therefore at risk of statelessness.

As part of the Coalition, UNHCR and UNICEF partnered with the local organization Amicale des Moniteurs de Daara Modernes du Sénégal to organize mobile court hearings in six departments of Senegal. The main target was children from rural areas enrolled in Daaras (Koranic schools) that do not require documents before enrolling students. Instead, they are accepted on the basis of an agreement between parents and teachers without any official procedures.

The mobile courts took place in the 2nd half of 2018 and allowed for more than 900 children to receive birth certificates and to be registered in the civil registry. For the first time, these children now hold an official document that allows them to request a national identity card, essential to confirm Senegalese nationality. Not only has this reduced the risk of statelessness for these children,  but this initiative will also enable them to benefit from different types of public services such as education and health care.  

Click here to read more articles from the UNHCR and UNICEF Coalition.

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