En français 
His Excellency Blaise Compaoré
President of Burkina Faso
I am writing to congratulate Burkina Faso on its revitalized effort to give an identity, particularly to newborn and young children, within the country’s borders.
Refugees International is a U.S.-based independent non-governmental organization that advocates for lifesaving assistance and protection for displaced people and promotes solutions to displacement crises. In recent years, Refugees International has also played a leadership role in raising the profile of the global issue of statelessness. Every person has a right to an identity and a nationality. Yet more than 12 million people do not have effective link to any government, sometimes because they cannot obtain identity or any form of civil registration. It is our belief that reducing and ultimately ending statelessness is achievable, particularly in regions where governments show strong political will to stop the problem where it often starts – at birth.
Since states have the sovereign right to determine the procedures and conditions for the establishment of the legal existence of an individual, they have a crucial role in preventing and putting an end to statelessness. Your government has shown commendable progress toward this objective. Our office was pleased to learn about the initiative to offer a free birth registration to millions of your citizens, allowing them to acquire an identity and equal access to social and political rights. I encourage you to continue the program beyond the targeted number of 5 million. Every child has the right to an identity and a nationality.
Under your leadership and through partnership with UNICEF, Burkina Faso can abolish the barriers that put girls at higher risk of not being registered at birth. I am also convinced that the Burkinabe government will find appropriate means to sensitize those who cannot read to the importance of birth registration. And I am certain that your government will put efforts into reaching children in especially remote regions, in accordance with the UN International Convention on the Rights of the Child. These initiatives will also be useful in the fight against child labor, trafficking, and underage marriages in the region.
Again, I applaud your initiative and commend Burkina Faso as an example to other states.
Kenneth H. Bacon