You have the right to an identity.
A child or young person's identity is made up of many different parts. Among other things, it includes:
- their name and nationality
- their race, culture, religion and language
- their appearance, abilities, gender identity and sexual orientation.
Article 8 of the UNCRC is about a child or young person's name, nationality and family relationships. It says that the government shouldn't interfere with a child or young person's right to any of these. It also says the government should be able to help if any of these things are taken from them illegally.
In addition, this article says official records should be kept of who a child or young person is to make sure information about their name, nationality or birth parents isn't lost.
Article 8 in context
While other elements of identity aren’t specifically covered by Article 8, they are protected by other articles in the UNCRC. For example:
- Article 2 says children and young people shouldn’t be discriminated against because of their identity
- Article 30 says children and young people have the right to their own culture, religion and language
- Article 20 says children and young people don't lose the right to their own culture, religion and language if they’re not able to live with their families.
Article 8 and early life
Article 8 also says that a child or young person should be able to find out about their early life. It says they should be able to find out about the country they're from, and that they should be able to enjoy its culture, religion and language.
Article 8 and adoption
Under Article 8, young people who are adopted can try and find out who their birth parents are. They should be sure this is what they want beforehand, however. It's a good idea for a young person who's made this decision to talk it through before going ahead with it.
Article 7 goes into more detail about the right to a name and nationality.
Article 9 says children and young people shouldn't be separated from their parents unless this is in their best interests.
Article 10 says children and young people should be able to know their parents even if they live in a different country to them.
Article 18 says that children and young people's parents each have responsibility for them.
Article 20 says children and young people should be cared for if they can't live with a parent.
Article 21 goes into more detail about rights and adoption.
Article 22 says that children and young people don't lose the rights Article 8 describes if they are refugees.
This article is a simplified version of Article 8 of the UNCRC. The full text of the Article can be found below:
1. States Parties undertake to respect the right of the child to preserve his or her identity, including nationality, name and family relations as recognized by law without unlawful interference.
2. Where a child is illegally deprived of some or all of the elements of his or her identity, States Parties shall provide appropriate assistance and protection, with a view to re-establishing speedily his or her identity.