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Cablegate: Wfp Readout On the Use of Biometrics For

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS ROME 003682

SIPDIS


FROM US MISSION IN ROME

STATE FOR A/S DEWEY
GENEVA FOR RMA
BRUSSELS FOR LERNER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREF PHUM EAID TZ PK WFP
SUBJECT: WFP READOUT ON THE USE OF BIOMETRICS FOR
REFUGEE REGISTRATION

REF: (A) DAR ES SALAAM 01179

-------
SUMMARY
-------

1. U.S. MISSION ROME SOUGHT AND RECEIVED INPUT FROM THE
WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME (WFP) REGARDING THE REGISTRATION OF
REFUGEES USING BIOMETRICS. ALTHOUGH THE PAKISTAN CASE
MAY NOT HAVE BEEN AS SUCCESSFUL AS REPORTED, WFP
CONSIDERS THAT SUCH A PROCEDURE MAY BE USEFUL IN THE
FUTURE AND THEREFORE WOULD ENDORSE A PILOT PROJECT. END
SUMMARY.

-------
DISCUSSION
-------

2. USUN ROME STAFF CONTACTED WFP PERSONNEL FOR TWO
READINGS. FIRST, WFP PERSONNEL ROUTINELY INVOLVED WITH
MAINTAINING LIAISON WITH UNHCR INFORMED US THAT WFP'S
OFFICE IN PAKISTAN SEES THE BENEFIT OF INTRODUCING
BIOMETRICS FOR REGISTRATION. HOWEVER, THE WFP OFFICE
ALSO NOTES THAT DESPITE REPRESENTATIONS BY UNHCR'S
CONSULTANT, WHO PURPORTEDLY FOUND BIOMETRIC REGISTRATION
"TECHNICALLY AND FINANCIALLY SUCCESSFUL," BIOMETRICS IS
NOT BEING USED FOR GENERAL REGISTRATION. INSTEAD, IT IS
USED FOR REPATRIATION PURPOSES, I.E., TO KEEP NEWLY
REPATRIATED PERSONS FROM RETURNING TO REFUGEE CAMPS AND
RE-FILING FOR FOOD RATIONS.

3. THE WFP LIAISON GROUP ALSO REPORT BEING IN CONTACT
WITH THEIR COLLEAGUES IN TANZANIA, WHO ARE AWARE OF THE
UNHCR BIOMETRICS REGISTRATION INITIATIVE. WHILE ADVISING
US OF THE POSSIBILITY OF UNDER-ESTIMATING THE TIME AND
EXPENSE NECESSARY TO IMPLEMENT BIOMETRICS, THEY SUPPORT A
PILOT PROGRAM.

4. WFP STAFF FROM PERHAPS THE MOST TECHNOLOGICALLY
ADVANCED SECTOR OF THE ORGANIZATION ALSO RECOMMENDS A
PILOT PROJECT BEFORE FULL-SCALE IMPLEMENTATION.

5. THIS WFP COMPONENT HAS SEVERAL OBSERVATIONS. FIRST,
FROM A TECHNICAL PERSPECTIVE, THE EQUIPMENT SHOULD BE
TESTED IN A LOW-TECH ENVIRONMENT WITH AN IRREGULAR
ELECTRICITY SUPPLY. THE SYSTEM SHOULD BE SIMPLE AND ABLE
TO OPERATE IN HARSH CLIMATES, EASY TO REPAIR, LIGHT
ENOUGH TO TRANSPORT, AND CAPABLE OF TRANSFERRING DATA
IMMEDIATELY BY EMAIL AND STORAGE ON CD-ROM.

6. SECOND, THEY ALSO OBSERVE THAT SOME STAKEHOLDERS,
PARTICULARLY REFUGEES THEMSELVES AND LOCAL POLITICAL
ACTORS, MAY OBJECT TO THE METHODOLOGY.

7. THIRD, FROM AN INFORMATION MANAGEMENT PERSPECTIVE, THE
DATA COLLECTED COULD PROVIDE MUCH MORE THAN A
REGISTRATION HEADCOUNT. CONCEIVABLY, IT COULD ENTAIL
GENDER, AGE, ORIGIN, AND HEALTH-RELATED DATA OF IMMENSE
VALUE FOR MANY HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE PURPOSES.

8. FOURTH, WFP SUGGESTS THAT A PILOT PROGRAM MIGHT BE
TESTED IN CONJUNCTION WITH UNHCR, WFP, UNICEF, ICRC, AND
CARE. HALL

NNNN
2003ROME03682 - Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

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