ID card program begins in eastern Burma

Burma’s Ministry of Immigration, working together with the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), has issued 350 people living in the remote rural area of Hlaingbwe Township, Karen State with national identity cards.

The joint country project to distribute identity cards is known as the Moe Pwint program and is located in a monastery in Kwan Ta (Ta Waw Ta) village. The Moe Pwint program is a one stop service that will provide free ID cards to villagers from Kwan Ta Kone, Shan Ywa, Pan Tain Kone, Kyune Kone, Kan Par Ni, Kone Ka Lay, Htee Poe Khee and Ta Di Koh.

The Government’s Immigration Minister, U Khin Yee confirmed to Karen News the details of the project.

“People born in the country should have ID cards and we will provide them. Under the law, ID card applicants must pay six kyat, but for now it is a free of charge because of our specific Moe Pwint program.”

Naw Mi a 40-year-old from Kwan Ta village, who has applied for her ID card said she hoped it would be the end of paying each time she crossed through military check points.

“I never register for a picture (ID) before. No one ever came to us to do our ID cards. Now they have informed us to do it and we have come here. We don’t need to pay for anything. In the past we had to pay money at the checkpoints on the way to town because of we had no [formal] ID, hopefully, we don’t have to pay anymore”.

Nan Aye Aung Oo, a field assistant working with NRC, said that similar ID card programs will be held in Palu region and villages in Myawaddy Township – Min Lat Pan, Inkyin Myiang, Htee Wah Plaw and Htee Law Thi. Nan Aye Aung Oo said the NRC is providing technical support in the villages ease in the program.

Immigration officers said villagers as young as 10 will be eligible to receive their ID cards.

The government’s Immigration Minister, U Khin Yee and the Karen State Chief Minister, U Zaw Min visited the ID distribution program area on Saturday September 2.

Since the end of August, rural people from KyaukKyi in the Bago region and Kyain Seikgyi Township in eastern Karen State had received their ID cards. The joint Burma and Norwegian program is set to run until the end of December 2012 and will operate in seven townships.

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