The child who is not registered at birth is in danger of being shut out of society – denied the right to an official identity, a recognized name and a nationality. This Digest examines the situation of children who are denied a fundamental human right and who, in legal terms, do not exist. This Digest has three aims. First, to emphasize the value of birth registration. Second, to explore the obstacles to universal registration. Third, to identify the action needed to bring about universal birth registration.