Centre of Excellence for CRVS Systems: The vulnerability of internally displaced women and children whose civil status is not registered in Ethiopia
Emergencies and displacements create major challenges to the provision of effective civil registration services such as marriages, births, and deaths. Restoring registration activities and clearing backlogs after emergencies are often complex and costly undertakings requiring specific legal, operational, and policy provisions. Civil registration is a critical tool for protecting fundamental human rights and freedoms. When civil registration systems fail due to conflicts and emergencies, people are unable to register vital events or obtain proof of identity and civil status. Without this proof, they are unable to access critical social services such as health, education, and social welfare.
This can have catastrophic consequences for women and children, who are especially vulnerable to gender-based and sexual violence in situations of conflict and fragility, and who are the first victims of conflict. Without proof of civil status or legal identity, they are even more vulnerable because they are unable to access the social services they need, nor can they prove links to their countries of origin. Proving these links is key in order to return to their countries of origin or to be relocated to another safe country by mandated United Nations agencies.
This project is supported under the Centre of Excellence for Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) Systems, a joint initiative of IDRC and Global Affairs Canada. With the collaboration of Addis Ababa University, the project will assess the existing legal and policy environment related to CRVS and examine the effect of civil registration status on the vulnerability of women and children displaced due to ethnic conflicts in Ethiopia. This study will examine the impact of the lack of documentation on access to humanitarian and other essential services, as well as vulnerability to sexual abuse, food insecurity, poor health, school dropouts, and conflict with the host population over resources.
Previous studies on the subject have either examined the importance of identity documentation or the vulnerability of internally displaced populations, but few have considered the link between access to identity documentation and vulnerability. This will, therefore, be an important contribution to the field. Expected outputs include a peer-reviewed publication and a high-level synthesis report that will be presented to the Civil Registration Technical Advisory Group to propose legislative modifications for internally displaced population-facilitated registration.