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Myanmar provides ID cards to IDPs and seeks $104 million to implement biometric registration

 

The government of Myanmar is attempting to implement a scheme to provide national registration cards to residents of internally displaced persons (IDP) camps across the country, local publication The Irawaddy reports.

“(A)lmost all of the people in IDPs camps in Myitkyina (Kachin State) have been provided with [national registration cards] and we will continue issuing them,” Myanmar Minister of Labor, Immigration and Population U Thien Swe said, according to the report. He also said the national government is working with state and regional governments.

The Ministry plans to replace citizenship cards with smart cards as part of a digital system which will include fingerprint biometrics. The plan has been in development for six years.

Fighting between the country’s military and the separatist Kachin Independence Army (KIA) has displaced more than 100,000 people who are still sheltered along the China-Myanmar border in Kachin State since 2011, according to the Kachin Humanitarian Concerns Committee (KHCC).

U Thien Swe was responding to questions from Daw Phyu Phyu Thin, a legislator in Myanmar’s Lower House for Yangon’s Mingalar Taung Nyunt area, who said those in the IDP camps suffer many problems, including the loss of employment opportunities, as a consequence of not having identification. Challenges to receiving ID cards for people in Kachin State include a language barrier for those who do not speak Burmese, and names differing from official documents, sometimes due to officials incorrectly spelling the names of people from ethnic minorities, according to the report.

The government plans to seek international support to raise the $104 million needed to implement e-ID registration, and $286 million to supply smart ID cards.

The UNHCR rolled out its BIMS system to identify refugees from Myanmar in Thailand in 2015.

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