Around 150,000 children displaced by the conflict in Mali do not have birth certificates and are at risk of exclusion and deprivation of rights because they cannot prove their identity, the Norwegian Council for Refugees has warned.
“Thousands of children are excluded from society when they should be in school,” said Maclean Natugasha, director of the Norwegian Council for Refugees (NRC) for Mali, in a statement released by the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) to AFP.
These 148,000 children are among the 422,620 people displaced by the war in Mali, according to August data from a joint monitoring tool by the United Nations (UN) and Malian authorities.
The children lost their birth certificates when they fled their homes or “never had them due to the limited functioning of civil registration services in some regions”, clarified the NRC.
In this country of around 20 million people, 7.5 million are in need of emergency humanitarian assistance, according to the UN.
Mali has been in turmoil since an uprising in 2012, when rebel soldiers overthrew the then president.
The State – dominated by the military since 2020 – currently has a limited presence in the vast bush where terrorist fighters affiliated with Al-Qaida and the Islamic State, bandits and drug dealers, armed militias and political-military groups are active on a large scale. , who signed a peace agreement.
If this marital status problem “is not resolved before these children reach adulthood”, warns the NRC, “they risk being deprived of their freedom of movement, the right to vote and the possibility of owning or renting property” .
Insurgents remain active in Mali and extremist groups have moved from the arid north into central Mali, fueling animosity and violence between ethnic groups in the region, which has forced the displacement of tens of thousands of people.