The Adoption Bill currently passing through the Oireachtas puts centre stage the plight of some 42,000 Irish people who have been adopted since 1952 but still have no legal right to obtain their own birth certificates. In the developing world, a birth certificate can be a passport to essential human rights. Being unregistered denies children access to so many of their rights.

Children with birth certificates are less vulnerable to trafficking and can be protected from child labour and child marriage. Since the launch of its Universal Birth Registration Campaign in February 2005, Plan has helped some 50 million children around the world claim a legal identity. Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, a supporter of Plan's Universal Birth Registration Campaign, put it well last year: "universal birth registration is impossible to ignore and entirely possible to achieve".

David Dalton

Plan Ireland,

Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2.