- GENEVA (AAP|) - Every person
in the world would be fingerprinted and registered under a universal identification
scheme to fight illegal immigration and people smuggling outlined at a
United Nations meeting today.
- The plan was put forward by Pascal Smet, the head of
Belgium's independent asylum review board, at a roundtable meeting with
ministers including Australian Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock this
- Mr Smet said the European Union was already considering
a Europe-wide system, using either fingerprints or eye scanning technology,
to identify citizens.
- But he said the plan could be extended worldwide.
"There are no technical problems. It is only a question of will and
investment," he said.
"If you look to our societies, we are already registered from birth
until death. Our governments know who we are and what we are. But one of
the basic problems is the numbers of people in the world who are not registered,
who do not have a set identity, and when these people move with real or
fake passports, you cannot identify them.
"It's a basic rule of management that if you want to manage something,
you measure it. It's the same with human beings and migration.
"But instead of measuring it, you have to register them."
Mr Smet said the scheme would give people dignity by giving them an identity
if their papers had been lost or destroyed.
And he said it would allow countries to open their borders to genuine travellers
or asylum seekers, because they would be able to prove the identity of
any over-stayers and deport them without argument from their home country.
Mr Ruddock appeared unconvinced by the merits of the plan.
"In principle we would be supportive of a system which would crack
down on multiple asylum claims, but a universal identification system would
be taking it too far," he said through a spokeswoman.
Copyright © 2001 John Fairfax Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved. http://www.smh.com.au/breaking/2001/12/14/FFX058CU6VC.html