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UAE, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan and Western Balkans in passport and border biometrics news

UAE, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan and Western Balkans in passport and border biometrics news

The Federal Customs Authority (FCA) of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is launching a Smart Mobile Passenger Inspection Unit which features six separate smart inspection devices to perform facial recognition and all other customs checks at the country’s borders. The FCA says the vehicles are intended to unify customs processes and provide “distinguished” services at land, air and sea ports of entry and exit.

The vehicles contain a bag scanner and a command and control center. They include weapons, radiation, metal, narcotics, explosives, precious metals and forged document detectors, an infra-red scanner, and x-ray scanners for luggage and parcels. The units can also be used to provide CCTV coverage of checkpoints, and be used to control relevant equipment, according to the announcement.

The FCA designed and built the units, which took 12 months, and they are expected to reach operation over the next few weeks.

Ukraine delivering biometric passports to citizens in annexed and occupied territories

Biometric travel passports have been issued to more than 950,000 Ukrainian citizens in the Russia-occupied Donbas region, Unian reports.

The State Migration Service also says more than 150,000 passports were issued to Ukrainians living in the annexed territory of Crimea and Sevastopol. Russia is also reported to have issued more than 200,000 passports to Ukrainians in Donbas.

Ukraine surpassed 14 million biometric passports issued in late-2019, and began issuing biometric ID cards earlier in 2020.

Kyrgyzstan issues tender for 1.5M ePassports

Kyrgyzstan’s State Registration Service has issued a tender to issue 1.5 million biometric passports, Kyrgyz outlet 24.kg reports. The agency says biometric passports will speed up identification processes at the border.

The ICAO-compliant documents will include an integrated chip and a polycarbonate page with a digital photo and biometric fingerprint data. The blank documents will be 34 pages in length, but the SRS is expected to also produce a 50-page version for frequent travellers.

The tender specifies delivery of 50,000 documents per month as the most important condition, according to the report, meaning the duration would be approximately two and a half years. It also includes the production of 3,000 service and diplomatic passports, ad 750 civil passports each year.

EU considers helping partner states with migrant biometrics

The European Union is considering offering to help Western Balkan countries develop biometric registration and data-sharing systems modeled on Eurodac for asylum applicants and irregular migrants in order to tackle migrant smuggling in the region.

Aligning the border process standards of Western Balkan states with those of the EU is important to regional security, according to a communication from the Presidency of the Council of the European Union to delegations. The capacity of the border control systems in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia could be strengthened with the implementation of biometric systems and proactive exchange with Europol and Frontex, the document says. The importance of all such systems meeting EU standards is also noted.

The proposal was discussed at an informal meeting of Ministers in January.

Reinforced border controls and rough terrain are leading to a lot of stranded migrants in the region, and demand for illegal services, the EU says, and it also makes several recommendations related to sharing information on investigations into criminal activities related to migrant-smuggling and deployment of liaison officers for EU agencies.

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