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Thu Jan 28, 2016, 01:49 PM

Mexico Recognizes Indigenous 'Identity' with Birth Certificates

Mexico Recognizes Indigenous 'Identity' with Birth Certificates

Published 28 January 2016 (9 hours 20 minutes ago)

As many as 12 million people in Mexico lack a birth certificate, limiting their ability to travel and obtain social services.

Mexico delivered birth certificates to over 7,000 indigenous people on Wednesday as part of a campaign to increase access to official documents in underserved areas.

Secretary of the Interior Miguel Angel Osorio Chong said that when he signed the law enshrining the right of indigenous peoples to a Mexican birth certificate, he “gave them their identities,” which would “change their lives” because “they will know who they are, that they exist, that they have rights, obligations and above all, that they feel Mexican — Mexican as we are all, proudly.”

Between 4 million and 12 million Mexicans are currently unregistered with the state, most from small, poor communities that have few public services, where people cannot afford the fee that some states charge for the document.

Without an identity card, people can be denied the right to education, healthcare, legal protection, a vote and even a job, as well as the ability to legally travel abroad. They are also more vulnerable to organized crime, and many end up migrating, becoming “doubly-undocumented” immigrants abroad.


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