Written by: Lauren Anders Brown, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
On a crisp January morning in Northern Syria, a group of children perch on the weathered remnants of a village, their eyes fixed on drying paint. They are not watching just any paint dry, but the paint and brush held by Aziz, a locally acclaimed mural artist. His canvases are often the walls and ceilings of homes ravaged by airstrikes orchestrated by the Assad regime and its Russian counterpart.
Aziz's art serves as a poignant reminder to the world of the often-overlooked hardships endured by the people of Idlib. These individuals, trapped in a life under siege, persevere in their unwavering quest for freedom. Through this mural Aziz uplifts the spirits of those around him, instilling a renewed sense of confidence in their collective struggle for their identities.
Identification documents are the cornerstone of modern society. They establish a person's legal identity, providing a tangible link between an individual and the services and resources they are entitled to. Whether it's a birth certificate, a passport, a driver's license, or a national ID card, these documents hold immense value in our daily lives.
As many of 80% of migrants are today reported as living anonymously, with no documentation to prove their identities, impacting every aspect of their daily lives.
1. Access to rights and services
Birth certificates are essential for establishing citizenship, which is the foundation of all other rights and privileges. IDs grant access to education, healthcare, employment, and various government services, ensuring that individuals can fully participate in society.
2. Fostering inclusivity and equality
Proper identification is especially critical for marginalized and vulnerable populations, as it helps protect their rights and prevent discrimination.
3. Economic empowerment
IDs are key tools in financial inclusion, enabling individuals to open bank accounts, access credit, and engage in economic activities.
4. Public safety and national security
Reliable identification is crucial for maintaining public order, preventing identity theft, and deterring criminal activities.
5. Humanitarian aid and disaster response
In times of crisis, having proper identification is instrumental in ensuring timely and appropriate assistance to affected individuals and families.
Global initiatives to strengthen identification systems
Many countries and organizations are actively working to enhance their identification systems. Initiatives like the World Bank's Identification for Development (ID4D) and the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16.9 aim to provide legal identity for all by 2030.
1. Digital identity technologies
Biometric technologies, blockchain, and digital ID systems are revolutionizing how identification is managed and secured.
2. Inclusivity and accessibility
Efforts are being made to ensure that identification systems are accessible to all, including those in remote or marginalized communities.
3. Privacy and data protection
Striking a balance between convenience and privacy is crucial. Robust data protection measures are being implemented to safeguard individuals' sensitive information.
Celebrating International ID Day
International ID Day on the 16th of September is a time to reflect on the progress made in the field of identification and acknowledge the work that still lies ahead. It's an opportunity for governments, organizations, and individuals to come together to raise awareness, share best practices, and advocate for inclusive, secure, and efficient identification systems.
Governments and non-profit organizations like ID4Africa often organize awareness campaigns, workshops, and seminars to educate the public about the importance of proper identification.
This year ID4Africa is asking to share thoughts, testimonies, and words of encouragement about the value placed on identity here.
The installation pictured in this article was created by the directors of the documentary film FORGED with Aziz Al-Asmar to be an extension of the film FORGED, allowing those who are most affected by this issue of identity in Northern Syria to reclaim their identity for themselves through interaction with the installation. By taking a photograph in front of it, they could create their own 'documentation', and prove they exist in the world. It was installed in January 2023, a week before the devastating earthquake but both the mural and Aziz survived.
As one of the documentary directors of FORGED and creators behind this installation, I am thrilled to announce ahead of International ID Day that this photograph will have its first viewing outside of Syria as part of an exhibition on the screens of Times Square in New York City.
International ID Day serves as a powerful reminder of the critical role that identification documents play in our lives. It highlights the ongoing efforts to create inclusive, secure, and efficient identification systems that empower individuals and ensure their rights are protected. As we celebrate this day, let us also renew our commitment to advancing the cause of global identification, recognizing its vital significance in our interconnected world.
On September 16th, the world comes together to observe International ID Day, a day dedicated to recognizing the importance of identification in our global society. This day serves as a reminder of the crucial role that identification documents play in enabling individuals to access their rights, benefits, and services, while also safeguarding security and privacy. Let's delve into the significance of International ID Day and how it underscores the broader implications of identification in today's interconnected world.
To learn more about the issues surrounding identity documentation for Syrians, watch the two-time Telly award-winning documentary FORGED streaming now and available for film festivals and cinema screenings.
Lauren Anders Brown, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Lauren Anders Brown is an award-winning documentary storyteller who uses film, photography, audio, and her writing to focus on issues of global health and human rights. She has captured content in over forty countries, including conflict zones, in order to amplify the voices of others and especially women. She produces work through her own production company colLABorate: ideas and images, works as a consultant for the United Nations, and is Creative Director of the e-learning startup Gamoteca. She is a true artivist: an artist who uses any and all of her available platforms to creatively advocate for human rights.