حق ثبت نام: توسعه، ثبت نام هویت، اجتماعی و امنیتی -یک دیدگاه تاریخی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|24164||2007||20 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||13668 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : World Development, Volume 35, Issue 1, January 2007, Pages 67–86
Identity registration at birth is a UN proclaimed human right. However, it is not available in many of the world’s poorer countries today. A national system of identity registration dates from 1538 in England and was used by individual citizens to verify their property and inheritance rights and by local communities to verify social security claims. This facilitated the effective functioning of a nationwide social security system and a mobile market in both labor and capital, contributing to Britain’s pioneering process of economic development. Today identity and vital registration systems should also be a high priority for development policy as a democratic institution vital for turning the liberal rhetoric of rights into a reality of empowered individuals.
“Human rights” and “development” have been internationally dominant intellectual themes and policy projects throughout the last six decades, since the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 and the founding of the World Bank in the same decade. There has been a liberal assumption that they go together, although only in the last two decades in the important intellectual project stimulated by Amartya Sen’s work on entitlements and capabilities, has there been a consistent effort to think through this assumption.1 In this article I want to draw attention to the significance of one practical aspect of both human rights and development, which seems to have been almost entirely overlooked. This is the human right to an identity. To be precise, the right to have one’s legal identity and relationship to significant others publicly recognized, securely registered, and accessible for personal use. I believe a correct appreciation of history indicates this to be of profound importance for both development and human rights. Without the legally sanctioned, secure, and practically available capacity to prove one’s identity, the political rhetoric of human rights, and the academic discourse of entitlements, functionings, and capabilities pioneered by Sen remains, at best, a set of ideals and aspirations for the world’s anonymous poor. Most positive legal and civil rights enshrined in constitutional declarations and the socio-economic provisions granted by states to their citizens are inaccessible and practically worthless to unregistered or otherwise legally non-existent individuals. The international blind spot for the significance of this particular human right is all the more baffling given that it is clearly and unambiguously enshrined in the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which was adopted by the General Assembly in 1966 (and which entered into force in 1976 when 35 States Parties had ratified it). The second clause of Article 24 of the ICCPR states that: Every child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have a name. In addition, Article 6, Clause 1 of the ICCPR states: Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life. In their authoritative summary of legal commentary on the developing jurisprudence of the UN ICCPR, Joseph, Schultz, and Castan (2000, p. 22) note that: Article 6, the right to life, has been interpreted to incorporate a duty upon States to tackle infant mortality, epidemics, and to take measures to increase life expectancy. This clause therefore has strong implications for the correct form that a national identity registration system should take. For nation states to take appropriate measures to protect and enhance the life expectancy of their populations, they must have at their disposal accurate and detailed information about patterns and trends of mortality and disease incidence. This requires a comprehensive national death registration system, something which all developed societies possess. However, most of the world’s poorest countries have no such comprehensive registration system. The extremely important and valuable epidemiological work of the “Indepth” network of continuous demographic surveillance sites shows that this would be of enormous health-saving value to the world’s poorest countries today. 2 Thus, the ICCPR in fact creates an obligation on its participants to institute a full identity and vital registration system, including both births and deaths, (and since 1962 there has also been a UN Convention endorsing the importance of marriage registration, the third component of a full civic identity registration system, embracing legal relationships to all significant others).3 Additionally, Joseph et al. (2000, p. 7) point out that Article 2 creates a direct and immediate legal obligation on ratifying States to implement the substantive ICCPR guarantees: A state is either fulfilling its obligation or it is not; Article 2(1) seems to allow no exceptions. Of the 192 member states of the United Nations, 156 are parties to the Covenant, as of July 2006. Furthermore, virtually all the world’s states have also signed up to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 7 of which repeats the ICCPR statement regarding the right to identity registration.4 Article 6, Article 24 and Article 2 of the ICCPR, alongside Article 7 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, would appear, therefore, to provide a sound and compelling basis in international law for almost all states in the world to have established a nationally comprehensive, efficient, and secure system for the registration of citizens’ identities at birth and also, while they are about it, for the creation of a full vital registration system embracing death and marriage registration. However, a great many states in Africa, in Latin America, and in Asia, representing half or more of the world’s population, have no effective national, universal system of registration at birth or at death (Mathers, Fat, Inoue, Rao, & Lopez, 2005). Although most nominally democratic states make efforts of varying degrees of efficiency to compile ballot registers for voting adults, many have not made any investment in a national system of identity or vital registration for their citizens. Why? Joseph et al. (2000, pp. 24–25) provide some highly relevant interpretations of the reasoning which has been used by the HRC, The Human Rights Committee created under Article 28 of the ICCPR as the monitoring body which interprets the Covenant’s law, when confronted with discrepancies between States Parties’ behavior and the relatively unambiguous and universalist principles, which the same States have signed up to when endorsing the ICCPR. They identify two kinds of reasons for toleration or temporizing in relation to such discrepancies, rather than insistence on the judiciary immediacy apparently entailed by Article 2. Firstly, the HRC “has never issued a consensus opinion on the relevance of cultural relativism…the idea that human rights values, including ICCPR norms, vary across cultures.” “At issue is the degree to which human rights are truly universal, or whether uniform imposition of human rights amounts to cultural imperialism…” (Joseph et al., 2000, pp. 24–25). However, given that, with only a couple of exceptions, all states in the world have voluntarily signed up to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child with its Article 7, this issue of cultural relativism would seem to be irrelevant as an explanation for the absence of identity registration in so many countries or for the HRC’s lack of attention to this continuing failure. Secondly, however, Joseph et al. (2000, pp. 24–25) observe that, “A related argument is more appropriately termed ‘economic relativism’, whereby it is postulated that the full exercise of certain rights is unsuitable in States with vulnerable developing economies. … [the question of] whether uniform imposition of human rights… is economically unviable.” It is this second, supposedly pragmatic reason, the issue of “economic relativism” and viability, as an apparently reasonable excuse for the absence of a nationwide identity registration system in a poor country, which I want to examine and to expose as mistaken in this article. It will be argued that England’s history of economic development indicates that an identity registration system, in conjunction with collective provision for social security, can both be institutions of fundamental importance for the stimulation of national economic growth, even in relatively poor agrarian economies.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Thus, I would argue that there are important lessons which can be drawn from the new, revisionist history, emphasizing the significance of the early phase of gradual economic development in the British historical case. As Figure 1 illustrates, during 1540–1780, Britain moved from a position as a small, average economy on the European periphery to that of world leader, primarily because of the increased efficiency of its agrarian economy. England was blessed with a range of crucial, state-sanctioned legal and social institutions facilitating free markets in land, capital, and labor, while simultaneously providing more effective personal and collective social security to its capitalists and to individual laborers and their family members than anywhere else in the world. Britain’s history indicates that those who, like De Soto and the World Bank, are seeking to foster economic development and the expansion of market activity in countries like those of Latin America or Africa today through a post-Douglass North focus on constructing the appropriate institutions required for markets to flourish, need to start by empowering individuals with an accessible and secure system for registering their own identities. The machinery of civil, vital registration is a necessary practical complement to De Soto’s emphasis on the need for property title laws and agencies of enforcement to enable all in society—not just the rich—to mobilize their assets into capital. This is not, of course, to suggest that an identity registration system—or even an identity registration system along with a collective social security system—are, alone, sufficient policy levers to produce economic development. However, I would argue that both of these are wise and necessary policies, which, along with the concept of private property and the rule of law, create a propitious institutional environment for encouraging indigenous market behavior on the part of a widening range of individuals in society. Registration can also be a multi-faceted institutional mechanism for simultaneously promoting economic growth, population health, and welfare (three goals which do not necessarily always coincide—Easterlin, 1999 and Szreter, 1997). Vital registration provides the crucial information for implementing an accurate and precise epidemiological intelligence system, as happened in Victorian Britain (Eyler, 1979). Indeed, the British state and its various local government authorities by the 1870s possessed a more comprehensive and detailed knowledge of citizens’ changing health patterns than exists today in many countries of the world (Szreter, 2005, chaps. 4, 8). Without this quality of information, the promotion of public health investments and services for the most needy are very difficult to implement effectively. The reading of the origins of early modern economic growth in Britain offered here would suggest, following North’s and Solar’s leads, that a nationwide social security system, funded through progressive local taxation (as the Poor Law was, since it was a local property tax), combined with vital registration and a cheap, impartial, locally accessible legal system, provide vitally important and necessary foundational institutional endowments for encouraging market growth and the mobility of labor and capital. Whereas Joseph et al. (2000) expressed a widespread commonsense assumption that the world’s poor countries might not be able to afford such institutions as the identity registration systems envisaged in the ICCPR, rather than being an optional afterthought in the process of economic development, the lessons of history suggest that such poor countries cannot afford not to invest in such institutions, if economic development through their own citizens’ market activity is their longer-term goal. In the world’s very poorest countries, such as Malawi, the full gamut of institutional innovations, which gradually emerged in early modern England are all still lacking today. There is no formal individual ownership of land, but allocation by custom and village chiefs, which makes possible only informal “purchase” or lease with no legal protection (Guest, 2004, chap. 3). There is no social security for individuals beyond the bonds of blood and local church or mosque membership; and there is no nationwide general registration of births, deaths, or marriages. It is unrealistic for either the government or the World Bank to formulate ambitious plans and policies for national economic development, without addressing the absence of these fundamental institutions. With no other form of meaningful security for all but a tiny elite, most persons in Malawi—very sensibly—aim to maintain good relations with their kin, local co-religionists, and their village chief as the top priority in life. It is all but impossible for most to accumulate personal capital and it is highly dangerous to weaken close personal bonds with one’s recognized lineage network and home community. The self-righteous (and hypocritical) western rhetoric denouncing “corruption” in government and throughout society in the world’s poorest countries is in part a deep mis-reading and mis-understanding of the alternative, highly rational economic rules of loyalty to primary networks, which simply must prevail as the self-preservative norm in a society without collectively provided forms of social security and where most cannot accumulate personal wealth. Action as a “free agent” in the market economy simply does not make sense to the vast majority in a country like Malawi without significant change to the institutional context. England, in common with most other now-developed societies, only achieved such change in the encompassing institutions, which in turn permit people’s motives and behavior to change, over the course of several centuries. Malawi’s government can start the country on this path, with technical assistance and financial support from the international community, but it will require the time necessary for at least one or two generations to grow up and mature under the new rules of the game before Malawian life can be expected to adapt and prosper so that it makes sense for more individuals to act as market agents. Neo-liberal economists meanwhile will object to any kinds of “subsidies,” such as those offered by a social security system as advocated here, because this introduces distortion of incentives, from the theoretical perspective of a micro-economics analysis of the operation of free markets. But from a historical and practical perspective, it can be seen that it was only confidence in the existence of such a collectively-funded, reasonably fair, and ubiquitous social security system, which enabled individuals of the laboring poor in early modern England to act as price takers for their labor in the national economy. Paradoxically (from the point of view of micro-economic theory), a society such as Malawi’s today, needs such a social security system (along of course with changes to land ownership rules) to change the whole incentive structure of its communities—with their intense reliance on kin and community networks—so that individuals can begin to respond, without distortion, to the signals of the market.20 Despite its importance in the British historical case, one can look in vain at many of the most influential international policy documents, such as the annual World Development or UNDP reports or the outcomes of important commissions, such as the WHO/WTO Sachs Report or even the World Bank’s own recent Special Report on “Human Rights and Development” (World Bank Institute, 2006) for any references in them to the importance of promoting practical schemes for establishing safe identity and vital registration systems.21 The problems involved in achieving such systems in many contexts are far from trivial and will require much thought, negotiation, and ingenuity.22 But if there is one single foundational policy that the world’s poor require, it is public acknowledgement of their individual existence from birth to death. The possibility that such identity registration systems could be and, indeed have been used by a deformed political regime for political surveillance and repression ( Seltzer & Anderson, 2001), as in apartheid South Africa ( Breckenridge, 2005a), does not negate the value of the argument being presented here and the policy being proposed. All tools, institutions, and social assets can be used for both positive and negative purposes and the more powerful and important the tool, the greater is its potential impact. The fact that the Nazi regime tragically was able to exploit the national identity information system of Holland to locate Jews more effectively in order to do them harm does not mean that an identity registration system is so intrinsically dangerous that it should not be constructed—any more than the Nazis’ use of Europe’s rail system to expedite the Jews in large numbers to their fates means that railway technology is an intrinsically sinister threat. However, it does mean that serious consideration must be given to the ethical implications of creating such information systems. Firstly, there needs to be consent to rules of ownership of the information. Identity registration systems create a category of public information about persons, but this should be considered to be the private property of the individual to whom it relates, alone. Only from this premise should any possible further uses of the information by other parties be considered, with public health epidemiological uses by accredited professionals probably being the only such legitimate further use which should be allowed by design. As Breckenridge (2005b) has warned in relation to the concrete example of post-apartheid South Africa’s new biometric technology, the recognition of this ownership principle means that very serious thought must be given to the kinds of identity information systems that are created, the precise technology of construction, and modes of access (which should be essentially by private individual and opaque to state or commercial uses). Attention must be given to the laws surrounding the use of the system and the possibility, for instance, of invoking international sanctions on any state or company abusing this aspect of an individual’s human rights (as in principle should apply to the violation of any of the other human rights of the citizens of those states who are participants to the UN covenants and charters). One possible policy conclusion to draw might be that it is advisable to propose that a society invests in a system of identity registration only where there is confidence that its constitution is democratic and that its civic society is robust. One crucial signifier of a robust civil society is the existence of an accessible, impartial, and independent system of recourse to law for the common people, akin to the magistrates’ courts of petty and Quarter sessions in early modern England. The system of magistrates’ courts was a close historical approximation to the institutional embodiment of a positive form of linking social capital.23 There is, it must be acknowledged, something of a chicken-and-egg relationship here between the strength of civic society and its bridging and linking social capital, the liberty of citizens, the practical accountability of democratic states, and the existence of a safe and accessible identity registration system. With its strong and independent judiciary and legal profession, England’s citizens as early as the 16th and 17th centuries were enjoying the use of a system of identity registration suitable to their own purposes, while the central state lacked even a rudimentary map of their property and possessions. Yet at the same time in subjugated, “colonial” Ireland the same central state in London successfully imposed a thorough mapping exercise as early as 1679 on a country, whose predominantly catholic and property-less populace and weak civic society was to remain without an identity registration system for nearly two more centuries (Scott, 1998, p. 49). Another possible policy conclusion which might follow from these various ethical and practical considerations is that although systems of identity registration for citizens require the recognition and support of national states and their laws, they would best be constituted as autonomous institutions, independent of elected national governments and their changing political agendas and ultimately answerable only to the United Nations and international law. This would not seem to be such a radical suggestion, given that all the many states who are participants in the UN ICCPR have already acknowledged that the Rights prescribed by the Covenant follow from acceptance by the States Parties of commitments to a higher set of principles than those indicated by national interest or raison d’etat; and the right to identity registration is, of course, one of these Civil and Political Rights. We may, perhaps, look to the future report of the Commission on Social Determinants of Health to emphasize the importance of comprehensive vital registration in every country for generating the high quality epidemiological information required for devising the most effective policies to promote population health. There has already been a start in this direction from the Gates-funded Health Metrics Network. 24 But, valuable though this is, the point, which this article has tried to labor, is that the importance of identity registration is not just an issue of vital registration for public health and epidemiological purposes. The continuing lack of universal civil identity registration systems in many poor countries and communities is both a human rights scandal and a fundamental development obstacle, which the world’s most powerful international organizations for promoting economic development should treat as among their highest priorities to address, while giving due consideration to the crucial point that these systems, though necessarily supported with the authority and resources of national governments, need to be protected against possible abuses. Identity registration systems must be created principally for the liberty and the use of private individuals, and not to serve the purposes of commercial organizations or states.