Ghost children: securing the civil registration

The Higher Council of French Notariat and the Association of Francophone Notariat (ANF) raise public awareness of the lack of civil status of children in developing countries, particularly in Africa.

The absence of civil registration in the world

The absence of civil status in the world Notaries are particularly aware of this reality because they are required as part of their mission to verify the civil status of the parties.

Today, 230 million children under 5 in the world are not registered by the authorities of their country. As a result, these children have serious difficulties in accessing education and health; they are the prey of all traffic.

Absence of civil registration : guidebook and publication

  • French notaries have contributed in this respect to the practical guide published by the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF) for the establishment of civil status registers and the census.
  • In addition, Mr. Dejoie, President of the International Council of the Notariat and President of the ANF, wrote with Me Harissou, Cameroonian notary, a book prefaced by Robert Badinter on The Ghost Children (2014, edited by Albin Michel) in which they highlight this problem and propose solutions.

Conferences about the absence of civil registration in developing world

Following this publication, numerous high-level symposia were held on this subject in France, for example

  • on 8 April 2015 at the National Assembly with Robert Badinter,
  • on 21 September 2016 at the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, in partnership with the World Bank,
  • on December 11, 2017 in partnership with the United Nations Refugee Agency.

People identification conference

See the videos on the Youtube channel of the Notaries of France, playlist "International Conference on" the identification of people, global issue "").


Absence of civil registration: International organizations seized

International organizations have seized this problem.

  • The Parliamentary Assembly of La Francophonie (APF), which brings together deputies from 79 countries, adopted on July 8, 2015 a political resolution inviting countries to obtain a reliable and, to the extent possible, free of charge civil status.
  • The European Parliament debated this theme at a round table on "Ghost Children" on 28 November 2018.

Absence of civil registration in Africa: actions of notary profession

The notariat has also actively contributed to projects to provide children with civil status in Africa, in partnership with UNICEF, particularly in Côte d'Ivoire and Senegal.

Civil registration in Ivory Coast

In addition, the ANF and the CSN participated in the production of a documentary entitled "The Ghost Children, a challenge for Africa" of 52 minutes broadcast during the summer of 2018 on Canal + Africa and LCP.

Frequently asked questions