Ukraine biometric passport law comes into force today, UN refugee agency says it falls short

December 7, 2012 - 

The law introducing the biometric passport system in Ukraine came into force in the country yesterday, though the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) suggests this new law doesn’t fully comply with international standards.

The new law was passed last month, and as previously reported in BiometricUpdate.com, it was not without protests, revisions, confusion and indecision. Ukraine’s human rights commissioner called upon the president to veto this law in October. In November, nearly 300 church group protestors demonstrated outside the presidential administration building in central Kyiv, also in opposition of this law. Before it finally passed, Ukraine President, Viktor Yanukovych added a revision giving those who refuse to enter their personal chip due to religious beliefs the right to do so.

This new law stipulates that a passport is to be made in the form of a card containing a contactless electronic carrier with biographical information as well as biometric identifiers. This new law also stipulates that passports are to be issued to all individuals from birth regardless of age, for a period of 10 years, forUm reports.

“UNHCR is pleased to note that this law introduces biometric travel documents to recognizes refugees valid for five years, according to international standards and allow refugees to enjoy the right to freedom of movement,” the department said in a statement, as reported by UNN.

Despite this praise and acceptance of the new law, the department also suggests that Ukrainian legislators have not considered those that require extra protection in Ukraine, as they will not enjoy the right to freedom of movement as there is no provision in the new law which grants them biometric travel documents.

According to the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees: “Unfortunately, Ukraine is losing another opportunity to pass legislation that would fully comply with international standards.”

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About Adam Vrankulj

Adam Vrankulj is an editor for BiometricUpdate.com. His background consists of online news writing, editing and content marketing. Adam has written for CBCNews.ca, BlogTO and was the editor and curator for the nextMEDIA and CIX Source publications. He has a degree in journalism and is passionate about science, technology and social innovation. Contact Adam, or follow him at @adamvrankulj