Sustainable Development and Legal Identity: Promises of Inclusion and Dangers of Exclusion


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Presenter:  Christoph Sperfeldt

Date: Jul 18, 2017

Time: 10:30am to 11:30am

Contact person:  Northern Institute
T: 8946 7468
E: thenortherninstitute@cdu.edu.au

Location:  Northern Institute, Yellow Building 1, Level 2, Room 48 (Savanna Room)

Abstract
Statelessness and other forms of legal identity problems are a global phenomenon that affects millions of people worldwide. Those who find themselves without a recognised legal identity face daily obstacles resulting from a lack of access to a range of social, political and economic rights and opportunities; all with significant adverse impact on their living conditions. When adopting the sustainable development goals (SDGs) in 2015, the UN General Assembly acknowledged that means to proving legal identity are linked to development outcomes.
The SDGs now aspire, under goal 16.9, ‘by 2030 [to] provide legal identity for all including birth registration’. By making the invisible legally visible, the SDGs promise to promote more inclusive development. However, requiring legal identity to enable access to rights and services could have the unintended effect of further excluding some of the most marginalised populations who face serious barriers in obtaining legal identity. Building upon field research among minority groups in Cambodia, this presentation highlights the significance of SDG 16.9 for inclusive development, but also the risks associated with linking development to legal identification. At stake is not just a technocratic exercise of registering populations, but a highly contentious process of tackling identity politics and transforming deeply entrenched social realities.

About Christoph Sperfeldt
Christoph Sperfeldt is a PhD scholar at the School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet), Australian National University, and a University Fellow at Charles Darwin University. Mr Sperfeldt has also worked as Deputy Director at the Asian International Justice Initiative, a joint program of the East-West Center and the Handa Center for Human Rights and International Justice at Stanford University. In this capacity, he has supported human rights and justice sector research and capacity-building efforts in Southeast Asia. Prior to this, Mr Sperfeldt was Senior Advisor with the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in Cambodia. Read Christoph Sperfeldt’s profile HERE

RSVP by Monday, 17 July 2017  via Outlook or thenortherninstitute@cdu.edu.au

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