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Documenting Citizenship & Other Forms of Legal Identity: A Community-Based Practitioner's Guide

– The Open Society Foundations

This guide, from Open Society Foundations' Open Society Justice Initiative and Namati, in cooperation with UNHCR, provides a practical, step-by-step foundation for community-based paralegals and other practitioners who are working around the globe to combat statelessness and a lack of legal identity documentation.

In their own words from the practitioner's guide:

Living undocumented, under-documented, stateless, or without effective citizenship prevents millions from reaching their full human potential because of a lack of access to healthcare, education, and other rights and services. It can marginalize entire communities, fueling discontent and even conflict and displacement. It exacerbates poverty because it confines individuals to the informal economy, often exposing them to unfair or exploitative working conditions, and obscuring their needs and activities from official accountings of the state. A growing body of research also confirms a positive link between access to documentation of legal status and actually enjoying the rights and services that one is already entitled to as a matter of law.

Open Society Justice Initiative & Namati

The guide offers practical advice for which practitioners would benefit most from the guidance, how to to start a program in local contexts to document citizenship and other forms of legal identity, how to ensure the program is sustainable and helpful to clients, and how to effect lasting change on systemic issues related to legal identity documentation.

It is full of case studies, real-world examples, and practical illustrations for paralegals, identity rights advocates, and those undertaking legal aid.