Today, 1.1 billion people around the world lack legal identity documentation. Without it, they cannot vote, access healthcare, or go to school—and are at risk of becoming stateless. Entire communities—especially the poor and members of minority groups—may lack documentation, leaving them legally and politically invisible. The lack of effective citizenship prevents millions from realizing their rights and reaching their full potential.
Unfortunately, gaining access to legal identity documents can be difficult or even impossible. In theory, governments should provide documents to their citizens, but in reality, the process is complicated by burdensome bureaucracies, distant offices, and even discriminatory officials.
Based on the experiences of dozens of existing projects, and drawing on lessons from across the globe, this guide provides step-by-step instructions on establishing and a paralegal or other community-based program to help people obtain legal identity documents. An essential tool for practitioners, it uses case studies, infographics, and copies of actual forms to guide the reader through the process of documenting citizenship and other forms of legal identity.
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Namati: Innovations in Legal Empowerment
Namati is an international organization that tests the potential of legal empowerment through innovative interventions and research. Through our work, we seek a better understanding of the impacts of legal empowerment and the most effective mechanisms for achieving them.
The Open Society Foundations work to build vibrant and tolerant societies whose governments are accountable and open to the participation of all people.
We seek to strengthen the rule of law; respect for human rights, minorities, and a diversity of opinions; democratically elected governments; and a civil society that helps keep government power in check.
We help to shape public policies that assure greater fairness in political, legal, and economic systems and safeguard fundamental rights.
For over 65 years, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has been protecting the rights and well-being of refugees all over the world.
We work to ensure that everybody has the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge, having fled violence, persecution, war or disaster at home.