[Featured Resource] Community-Based Practitioner's Guide - Documenting Citizenship and Other Forms of Legal Identity


(Michael Otto) #1

This is the 5th week of our 10 Weeks of Action and we are highlighting Citizenship Rights for our Featured Resource. The Namati Citizenship program and the Open Society Justice Initiative published A Community-based Practitioner’s Guide: Documenting Citizenship & Other Forms of Legal Identity, developed in cooperation with UNHCR, in response to the growing recognition of the opportunity for community-based justice actors to assist individuals and communities suffering from a lack of documentation of citizenship or other forms of proof of legal identity.

This guide is the result of a series of consultations and discussions on addressing statelessness and lack of legal identity documentation. It draws from the experience of programs in over 24 countries. The guide does not only focus on citizenship rights, but more broadly details the stages to setting up a community-based citizenship paralegal program including initial needs assessments, program start up, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and how to affect broader policy change.

More about the A Community-based Practitioner’s Guide: Documenting Citizenship & Other Forms of Legal Identity :

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.

You can access this resource in our library at the following link:

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The Featured Resource is a short profile of a key resource found in the resource library of the Global Legal Empowerment Network. These resources can be older or brand new, but they all touch on important themes within legal empowerment. If you have a resource you would like to profile with the network, upload it directly at this link or email it to community@namati.org

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