Photo: Church Aid

Anniversary of the #IBelong campaign, western region of Gbarma, County of Gbarpolu, Liberia, Photo: Church Aid, 2020

Brown, president of the Inter-Religious Council of Liberia, has remained committed to ending statelessness for more than seven years. After attending a workshop on statelessness led by the Commission if the Churches on International Affairs (CCIA) of the World Council of Churches (WCC) in 2016, he was inspired to champion a campaign for birth registration in his country.

According to the UN Refugee Agency, Liberia is one of 25 countries in which there is no gender equality in nationality laws. It is also a country where birth registration is lacking, especially in remote rural areas.

Every year since 2014—when the UNHRC first started its “I Belong” global campaign to end statelessness—Brown has organized a corresponding national birth registration campaign in Liberia on 4 November, the day “I Belong” was founded. Collaborating with the Liberian Ministry of Health and other public officials, Brown has helped deliver birth certificates to children, some of which could otherwise have become stateless.

“It is a moving experience to see the smiles on the faces of the children and their parents as they received their birth certificates in support of the campaign against statelessness,” said Brown.

In a letter on 25 February to Liberian minister of health Dr. Williamena Jallah, WCC acting general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca expressed gratitude to the Liberian government for its collaboration with the Liberia Council of Churches and Church Aid Inc. on the Campaign to End Statelessness in Africa.

The campaign has been able to raise awareness and set up local structures in more than ten of Liberia’s 15 counties, issuing more than 4,231 birth certificates to children under 12.

“We assure you of our unflinching support in the collaboration to drive this initiative through,” wrote Sauca.


Learn more about the WCC work on statelessness