Prevent Genocide International 

Global Survey of Group Classification on National ID Cards

Main Text
(Afghanistan - Japan)
Sample images
of National ID Cards

Findings of the global survey, part 1 (Af to Ja)



DR Congo
Dominican Republic

Saudi Arabia
Sri Lanka
South Africa

These entries are compiled primarily from Country Reports of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the U.S. Dept. of State annual Human Rights and Religious Freedom Reports, as well as news reports and from communications with persons holding ID cards. Group classification on a national ID card does not indicate a government will engage in massive human rights violations.  Classifications on ID cards are instead a facilitating factor, making it more possible for governments, local authorities or non-state actors such as militias to more readily engage in crimes based on ethnicity or religion. ID cards are not a precondition to genocide, but have been a facilitating factor in the commission of genocide. Additionally the presence of group categories on ID cards, routinely used in official and business transactions, can contribute to polarization that can lead to genocide or related crimes.The survey includes information on more than 30 present and more than 10 past examples (appearing in italics). The legacy of past use of group classification is still a factor in most of these countries.

Afghanistan - - - Name and Document form: Taskera/taskira, 16 page ID booklet); Year established: 1973; Status: still in use. Categories and groups: The taskera notes religious affiliation. Ethnic Groups: Pashtun (38%), Tajik (25%), Hazara (19%), Uzbek (6%), other (12%). Hindus and Sikhs, living in Kabul and other cities number in the thousands. Comments: The Taliban militia regime (1996-2001) made two initiatives in which they proposed that, in addition to the religious affiliation on the ID Card, minority Hindu and Sikh men and women would be required to wear distinctive identifying clothing or yellow (saffron) cloth tags. The distinctive tags on clothing were introduced in Kandahar in 1999. On May 23, 2001, Taliban radio announced a forthcoming religious decree for establishing yellow badges throughout Afghanistan. Worldwide condemnation continued until June 28, 2001, when it was announced that Mulluah Omar had never signed the decree. The Islamabad newspaper The News reported that two Pakistani diplomats had persuaded the Taliban to change the decision because of adverse international reaction to it. Whether religious affiliation will be included on Taskera booklets issued by the new Afghan government established in December 2001 is not yet known.

Belgium - - - Name and Document form: Carte d'identité, identiteitskaart, National ID Card with ethnic categories; Year established: not known; Status: not known. Categories and groups: Flemish, French-speaking and German-speaking coexist in a federal constitutional monarchy in which power has devolved to local regions. The population of about 10 million includes the Fleming, whose language is near to Dutch (55%), the Walloon, who speak French (33%), about 12% of the population who are mixed or from other nationalities, including Moroccan and Turkish and about 60,000 German-speakers. Ethnic and linguistic conflict in the 1960s led to constitutional amendments in 1971 and 1993, that devolving power to regional councils. The year 1993 also saw the approval of a constitutional amendment changing Belgium into a federation of Flanders, Wallonia, bilingual Brussels, and the culturally autonomous German-speaking area. In the same year three elected regional assemblies were created. In elections in the year 2000 an extremist party, the Vlams Blok, won a third of the vote in Antwerp, and one-fifth of the votes in the remainder of Flanders. The Blok advocates an independent Flemish state and the deportation of non-European foreigners. Foreigners in Belgium have their nationality on their ID Card. Comments: Some reports suggest that in Belgium in the first half of the 20th century the National ID Card included an ethnic group category which become the model for ethnic ID cards in the Belgian colonies which became Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. More details are needed. Source: See case opf Nebella Benaissa, Belium borhn of Morrocan ancenstry Guardian 6 Aug 1997)

See largeBhutan - - - Name and Document form: Citizenship Identity Card (CIC); Year established: 1958, 1985; Status: still in use. Categories and groups: The CIC Cards  use a seven-category classification system based on ancestry: Nationals (F1), one parent (F4 or F5), non-nationals (F7). Ethnic Groups: Drukpas, Sarchop , and Nepali-speaking Lhotshampas. Comments: ID Cards system made more restrictive after 1985 and played a role in the forced expulsion of 100,000 Nepali- speaking persons to Nepal in 1991. These persons, many with valid citizenship documents, remain in refugee camps in Nepal despite numerous efforts to negotiate their return to Bhutan.

Bosnia and Herzegovina - - - Name and Document form: Licna Karta; Year established: not known; Status: still in use. Categories and groups: In about the year 2000 the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina began issuing new passports with text throughout in four languages: Bosnian and Croatian (Latin alphabet), Serbian (Cyrillic), and English. This will allow the same passport books to be issued to all ethnic groups. The words "Bosna I Hercegovina" repeat in both Latin and Cyrillic script, across the pages. Comments: The Republika Srpska in eastern Bosnia distributes ID cards and PAssports solely in Cyrillic script, see http://www.ets.rs.ba/licna.htm

Brunei Darussalam - - - Name and Document form: ID card; Year established: not known; Status: still in use. Categories and groups: Residents are required to carry an identity card that states the bearer's religion. The majority is Muslim and the Constitution makes Islam "according to the Shafeite sect" the official religion. The population of 340,000 includes about 64% Malays and 20% Chinese. The Chinese Population is about half Buddhist and half Christian. Comments: The Government no longer requires visitors to identify their religion on their landing cards. Source: U.S. Dept. of State, International Religious Freedom Report, 26 Oct. 2001.

Burundi - - - Name and Document form: Carte d'identité; Year established: 1930s; Status: discontinued in 1962. Categories and groups: A system of rigid distinctions, including ID cards, under Belgian colonial rule (before July 1, 1962) reinforced ethnic/caste identity. Groups include Tutsi, Hutu and Twa. Ethnic Groups: Hutu(85%), Tutsi (14%), Twa (1%).; Comments: The legacy of these ID cards continues impact Burundi where the Tutsi/Hutu division creates ongoing conflict (See comment after DR Condo below).. In 1996, ID cards of returning refugees were checked for corners cut off or a green-colored stamp on their ID cards - marks made by UNHCR officials to prevent refugees. Persons with such marks were arrested. Source: See Article 2, item 7 of the Arusha Accords, 28 August 2000.


Card from 1955, see largeCambodia (1953-1975) - - - Name and Document form: Fiche de Controle du Vietnamien (Control sheet of the Vietnamese); Special ID document; Year established: 1955; Status: period of use is not known. Categories and groups: Comments: Official discrimination against ethnic Vietnamese was policy before 1970 under Norodom Sihanouk. After the coup by Lon Nol in March 1970 Vietnamese were called "hereditary enemies". A massacre of 100 civilian ethnic Vietnamese men, woman and children was committed as Prasot Takeo-Kampot. Further killings were committed on the houseboats on river in Phnom Penh. One French Priest counted over one thousand bodies in the Mekong river. Over the next months and years about 300,000 ethnic Vietnamese were evacuated to South Vietnam, while others were held in detention until 1975. Source: Henry Kamm, Cambodia: Report From a Stricken Land, (New York: Arcade, 1998), p. 74-84

Cambodia (Khmer Rouge period - 1975-1979) - - - Classification and Marking System: Just as they rejected currency, the Khmer Rouge regime rejected personal identity documents. Nevertheless, the regime established a classification system. Furthermore different clothing rations based upon the classifications made people's category identifiable by the appearance of their clothing. Unequal clothing rations differed somewhat by locality and can not with certainty be called a deliberate (and not a circumstantial) system of marking people. In 1978, however, the Khmer Rouge introduced new blue and white "kroma" scarves and sometimes blue pants and shirts, which became the "killing sign" used by cadres to identify persons relocated out of the Eastern Zone who were marked for death. Years established: 1975 to 1978; Categories and groups: "Base people" and "New people" with various subcategories. The major ethnic and religious minorities, along with former officials of the Lon Nol regime, professionals, city dwellers and others were almost always classified in the lowest category as "new people." The work assignments, living conditions, minimal food rations, harsh penalties and sometimes massacres imposed on them caused mass death among persons classified as "new people." The only Cambodian minority group not assigned to this category was the small population of northern hill peoples. In 1977 and 1978 ethnic Vietnamese, lower Khmer from South Vietnam and "Cambodian bodies with Vietnamese Minds" were increasingly targeted, especially in the Eastern Zone. Between May and September 1975, some 150,000 ethnic Vietnamese had been expelled from Cambodia to Vietnam. In 1978, ethnic Vietnamese and others considered to be associated with them became the primary target of the genocidal mass killing. Comment: When persons were assigned to a new status, in the countryside or in S-21 the frequent practice by the Khmer Rouge was confiscating and destroying the persons clothes. Loung Ung, in her memoir, recalls how her family's clothing was burned upon arrival in a rural village after being evacuated from Phnom Pen (Ung 59). She also notes the older "faded, grey-black" worn by herself, her family and other "new people", in contrast to the "shiny black" shirt and pants worn by the "base people" and by Khmer Rouge cadres (Ung, 132, 74, 89). A number of the persons interviewed by Ben Kiernan also describe how the "base people" received new black clothing rations while the evacuees are dressed either in rags or faded black clothing (Kiernan 194, 197, 237, 289). Sources: Gregory H. Stanton, Blue Scarves and Yellow Stars: Classification and Symbolization in the Cambodian Genocide, Occasional Paper of the Montreal Institute for Genocide Studies, April 1989; Ben Kiernan, The Pol Pot regime : race, power, and genocide in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, 1975-79, New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1996; .. p. 405-411, 145, 197, 229. Loung Ung, First they killed my father : a daughter of Cambodia remembers (Harper Collins, 2000).

Cambodia (since 1979) - - - Name and Document form: Special identity certificates; Year established: 1993; Status: still in use. Categories and groups: In 1993, ethnic Vietnamese Cambodians in some provinces, notably Kampong Chhnang, Pursat and Phnom Penh were issued new white cards called "Certificates of Recognition for Overseas Vietnamese Person". The documents renew an earlier practice from the 1950s (see above). Ethnic Groups: Khmer (90%), Vietnamese (5%), Chinese (1%), other (4%) including 200,000 Cham Muslim. The ethnic Vietnamese are sometimes called by the pejorative term "youn." During the period of occupation by Vietnam from January 1979 to September 1989, authorities planned for settlement or resettlement of Cambodia by ethnic Vietnamese. Controversy occurred over the numbers planned for , whether it would besimilar to he number of 450,000 as had been residing in Cambodia in the 1960s or as many as 1 million. Estimates of the number who settled in Cambodia duirng the 1980s rande from as few as 80,000 to as high as 2 million. Comments: About the same time as the certificates were established, the Khmer Rouge opposition committed multiple massacres of Vietnamese civilians (farmers and fishermen), beginning in 1992 during eh period of the UNTAC (United Nations Transitional Authority). Large massacre July 23, 1992 in Kampot province (8 killed) and another on March, 10, 1993 at Tonle Sap Lake (about 100 killed) causing mass flight to Vietnam. No Cambodian leaders condemned these crimes. The Cambodian government later prevented these persons from returning, claiming that they were Vietnamese with no history of residence or right to return. Sources: Marie Alexandrine Martin, Cambodia: A shattered Society, Berkeley: Univ. of California Press. 1994).

See largeChina - - - Name and Document form: Jumin shenfenzheng (chü min shen fen cheng); Year established: 1985; Status: still in use; Categories and groups: Ethnic nationality ( minzu )  appears on the ID cards as the 2nd of item in line 2 after the card bearer's sex and appearing directly below the person's name. The card displays the photograph, name, sex, ethnic nationality, birth date, address, date of issue and years valid and an ID number. As the 3rd item on the card (after name and sex) directly beneath the cardbearer's name, ethnic nationality is an especially prominent feature of the card. The government recognized 55 ethnic groups in 1957,  and one more, the Jiruo, in 1979. The Han Chinese population is 1,033,057,000 or 93.5%. The official minority nationalities total 91,200,314 or 6.5% of the population, including 7.2 million Uighur and Tungans (also known as Hui or Chinese Muslims) and 4.5 million Tibetans. Some groups are not recognized, such as the Hakka who are designated as Han. Comments: The Public Security Bureau issues both ID cards and  hukou (household registration booklets). ID Cards containing a hologram (in the top right corner) were issued in the early 1990s. In June 2001 some cities began issuing "Smart Cards" containing a microchip.

See largeCroatia - - - Name and Document form: Osobna Iskaznica, Osobna karta; Year established: 1991; Status: still in use. Categories and groups: Croatia residents over 16 must carry an ID card issued by the Ministarstvo unutarnjih poslova - MUP (Ministry of the Interior). The card displays a photograph, date and place of birth and address of the bearer, serial and registry number and the person’s signature. Comments: Identity cards issued under the former Yugoslav government were invalid after October 7, 1993. Source: http://www.mup.hr/upravni/osobne/osobne.html

Democratic Republic of Congo - - - Name and Document form: Carte d'identité; Year established: 1930s; Status: discontinued in 1960. Categories and groups: A system of rigid group distinctions, including ID cards, under Belgian colonial rule(before June 20, 1960) reinforced ethnic identity. Comment: The legacy of the group classifications on ID cards in the DR Congo is somewhat in contrast to Burundi, another former Belgian colony where such ID cards were abolished at the time of independence but where the rigid ethnic categories have persisted. In the DR Congo ethnic group or tribal identity is one of a several possible affiliations, including religion, class or regional identity. Another contrasting legacy is that of Rwanda where classification on ID cards was retained in 1962 by the post colonial regime and remained in use for 35 years until 1997.

Dominican Republic - - - Name and Document form: Cedula Personal de Identidad; Year established: not known; Status: still in use. Categories and groups: ID cards note multiple shades of skin color: trigueño (white), indio in three shades: indio, indio claro, indio oscuro, moreno and negro/a (rarely used). The use of these terms as official racila categories politicizes differences in personal appearance. Ethnic Groups: Mestizo and Creole (73%), White (16%), Black (11%). Comments: The Dominican Republic identifies with a Hispanic tradition and has a long-standing tradition of "antihaitianismo" and anti-French attitides. Haiti occupied the Dominican Depublic from 1822 to 1844. A century later massacres of thousands of persons of Haitian background were committed in October 1937.

See largeEgypt - - - Name and Document form: ID card; Year established: not known; Status: still in use.
Categories and groups: Religious affiliation is noted on ID cards, including Muslim, Coptic, Catholic or Orthodox Christians. Coptic Orthodox Christians are estimated to make up 6 to 12% of Egypt's 60 million population; Comments: "In 1997 human rights activist Mamdouh Naklah filed suit seeking removal of the religious affiliation category from government identification cards. Naklah challenged the constitutionality of a 1994 decree by the Minister of Interior governing the issuance of new identification cards. In March 1998, the court referred the case to the State Commissioner's Office, which had not issued an opinion by the end of the period covered by this report, " from the U.S. Dept. of State, International Religious Freedom Report, 26 Oct. 2001.

Ethiopia - - - Name and Document form: ID Card, Special Cards for Ethiopians on Eritrean origin; Year established: not known; Status: still in use; Categories and groups: ID Cards note ethnicity. Ethnic Groups include Oromo (40%), Amhara and Tigrean (32%), Sidamo (9%), Shakella (6%), Somali (6%), Afar (4%), Gurage (2%), other (1%). Special Cards were issued for Ethiopians of Eritrean origin. Comments: During the 1998 war with Eritrea the government claimed that Ethiopian citizens of Eritrean origin who registered to vote in the 1993 Eritrean Independence Referendum had forfeited their citizenship. Mass deportations were conducted.


Roma (Gypsies) in France - - - Name and Document form: Carnet anthropométrique, ID booklet; Year established: 1912, 1970; Status: revised version still in use. Categories and groups: In 1912 the French government passed a law requiring all Roma to carry a "Carnet anthropométrique", a document containing personal data, including photograph and fingerprints. A revised version of this document, not specifically for Roma but for person with no fixed residence, was introduced in 1970.

Alsace-Lorraine - - - Document form: Special Cards and stamps on ID cards; Year established: 1918, Status: discontinued; Categories and groups: In December 1918 France imposed a four-part ID card system on Alsace -Lorraine in an effort to distinguish between (A"pure blooded" Alsatians and Lorraines, from (B) those of mixed ancestry,(C) a population identified as "boches" (recent German immigrants and persons considered culturally German), and (D) foreigners. A total of 59% were considered to be "pure-blooded" receiving Carte A enabling them to travel freely, register to vote and exchange currency. Persons of mixed ancestry (10%), persons deemed to be Germans (28%), and foreigners received Cards B, C and D with restricted rights. Native-born Alsatian Protestants were especially persecuted. Comments: After 47 years of German rule following the 1871 Franco-Prussian War, Alsace and Lorriane were reincorporated into France. Subsequent reintegration between 1918 and 1920 included the flight and expulsion of more than 110,000 persons from Alsace and 100,000 from Lorraine. From 1940 to 1945 Nazi Germany reannexed Alsace-Lorraine. 

France (WWII) - - - Name and Document form: "JUIF" added to ID cards; Dates established: October 1940 in German-occupied Northern France; December 1942 in Vichy France in the South; Status: discontinued in 1944. Categories and groups: French citizens and foreigners of Jewish ancestry. Comments: As an additional source of identification beginning in June 1942, Jews over 6 years of age were required to wear the Yellow Star of David badges ( l'étoile jaune ) on their outer clothing. The Yellow Star badges were not introduced in Vichy France. Approximately 90,000 out of 350,000 Jews in France were deported to Death camps. Source: Susan Zuccotti, The Holocaust, the French, and the Jews, Basic Books, 1993, p. 54, 61, 81, 90.

Georgia - - - Name and Document form: ID card; Year established: 1996; Status: still in use. Categories and groups: In 1996 the Parliament of Georgia unanimously abolished the Soviet-era practice of  classifying persons on their ID cards (internal passports) according to ethnic nationality. Ethnic composition in Georgia is Georgian (70%), Armenian (8%), Russian (6%), Azeri (6%), Ossetian (3%), Abkhaz (2%), other (5%). Comments: In January 1999, a member of Parliament, Garum Sharadze, Orthodox church leaders and others campaigned for the ethnic nationality category to be restored to ID Cards and birth certificates.  Ethnic conflict is prevalent in Georgia, especially in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, as well as neighboring Chechnya. Source: Jeremy Bransten, "Georgia: Ethnicity Proposal Stirs Debate On Nationality And Citizenship", Prague, 22 January 1999, See Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty, www.rferl.org.


Roma and Sinti - - - Name and Document form: Kennkarte, ID cards with fingerprints; Years established: 1927; Status: discontinued. Categories and groups: Roma and Sinti (Gypsies, Ziguener). During the Weimar period and in Nazi Germany, Roma and Sinti persons were fingerprinted and issued special ID cards. This practice began in Prussia before the Nazi Party had political power. On November 3, 1927 a Prussian ministerial decree "Fingerabdruckverfahren bei Zigeunern" (Fingerprinting of Gypsies), was issued requiring all Roma and Sinti without a fixed domicile to be registered and documented "in the same manner as individuals being sought by means of wanted posters, witnesses, photographs and fingerprints." Infants also were fingerprinted, and all persons over the age of six were required to carry identity cards bearing their photograph. From November 23 to 26 police throughout Prussia conducted armed raids on Roma communities to enforce the decree registering and fingerprinting 8,000 people. Comment: Nazi laws on non-Aryans and Mischlinge (half-breeds) were applied to Roma and Sinti, including sterlization. Mass arrests of Roma and Sinti occured in Berlin in May 1936, in the former Austrian province of Burgenland in 1938 and elsewhere.

See largeJews - - - Name and Document form: Kennkarte, Reisepässe, Years established: 1938; Status: discontinued. Categories and groups: Jews, persons of Jewish ancestry, "Mischlinge" (half breeds). As a further step in implementing the September 1935 Nuremberg Laws a "J Stamp" (J-Stempel) based on the religion of grandparents was added to ID cards and passports of Jews and persons of Jewish ancestry. From 1938 Jews were issued with a special identity card and had to take a "Jewish middle name" (Sara for women, and Israel for men).  [Decree providing for identification cards, July 23, 1938, RGB1 I, 922; Decree providing for marking of passports , Oct. 5, 1938, RGB1, I, 1342). Comments: Marks on ID cards and passports preceded yellow star cloth badges on clothing in Germany and occupied countries. As an additional source of identification beginning on September 15, 1941, Jews over 6 years of age were required to wear the Yellow Star of David badges on their outer clothing. During 1941, in the closed ghettos of Nazi-occupied Poland  "schein" or "kennkarte" cards (work permits) were issued. Persons without the documents were rounded up and deported to death camps. In addition to documents identifying Jews, only pure-blooded Germans were permitted to establish their Aryan ancestry using the Ahnenpass document. Page 1 of the pass read "This Ancestry permit is examined by the Reich Authority for Kinship Research in the Ministry of Interior of the Reich and is recommended for official use by many official departments of the Nazi Party. It is only intended for blood Germans (Deutschbluetige) Halfbreeds (Mischlinge) and those of foreign race are not certified to receive entries in this ancestry permit in the registry offices. Sources: Jacob Presser, The Destruction of Dutch Jews. Translated by Arnold Pomerans, New York: E.P. Dutton, 1069; Bob Moore, Victims and Survivors: The Nazi Persecution of of the Jews in the Netherlands 1940-1945, New York: Arnold, 1997, p. 196-197; Edwin Black, IBM and the Holocaust : the strategic alliance between Nazi Germany and America's most powerful corporation (Crown, 2001), p. 305

Greece - - - Name and Document form: Deltio Taytotitas, National ID card; Year established: not known; Status: discontinued on July 31, 2000. Categories and groups: Religious affiliation was noted on ID cards, including Orthodox, Catholic, Muslim and Israelite.  Greek Orthodox are about 98% of the population.  Comments: On May 15, 2000, an Independent Authority, established in 1997, issued a binding ruling to remove religion as well as other personal data (fingerprints, citizenship, spouse's name, and profession) from ID Cards. The Greek Orthodox led by Archbishop Christodoulos has campaigned to reverse this policy.

See largeIndonesia - - - Name and Document form: Kartu Tanda Penduduk (KTP), ID Card; Year established: not known; Status: still in use. Categories and groups: The ID card (KTP) indicates religion (agama) as the 7th of 17 items on the back side of the card. Religious categories include: Islam, Katolik (Christian-Catholic), Protestant (Christian-Protestant), Hindu, Budha (Buddhist). From 1979 to 1998 the category Konghucu (Confucionism) was prohibited as a category. Until 1996 "E.T." for "Ex-Tapol" (political prisoner) was stamped on KTP cards to identify former PKI (Communist Party of Indonesia) members. Until 1998 Pribumi (native) and non-pribumi (non-native) appeared on cards - non-pribumi appeared on the KTP of ethnic Chinese. Ethnic Groups: Javanese (45%), Sundanese (14%), Madurese (8%), Malay (8%), Ethnic Chinese (4%), others. Comments: In addition to ID cards (KTP) a law required Indonesians of Chinese background to apply for Special nationality certificates (SBKRI - Surat Bukti Kewarganegaraan Republik Indonesia) to show evidence of Indonesian Citizenship. The law requiring SBKRI was abolished in 1996. In the early 2001, radical Muslim student actvitists set up roadblocks in some neighborhoods of Jakarta checking KTP cards in order to harasse non-Muslims. Similar incidents occurred in Makassar, South Sulawesi.

Iran - - - Name and Document form: required church membership cards; Year established: not known; Status: still in use.
Categories and groups: In an effort to restrict proselytizing by evangelical Christians conducting services in Persian, the government requires members of these congregations to carry membership cards, with photocopies provided to the authorities. How members of the Bahai faith are impacted by identity card policies is not certain. Comments: Christian worshipers are subject to identity checks by authorities posted outside. Churches must also inform the Ministry of Information and Islamic Guidance before admitting new members. Source: U.S. Dept. of State, International Religious Freedom Report, 26 Oct. 2001.

Iraq - - - Name and Document form: ID cards; Year established: not known; Status: still in use. Categories and groups: Arabs, Kurds, Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims, Jews. Comments: In April 2000, the agents of the Iraqi regime, including Party and Security committees began registering those Kurdish Families in Kirkuk whose identity cards have been issued in the autonomous region. In the course of registration, questions are asked concerning the location of the family during the 1947 and 1957 population censuses, the number of family members living abroad and in the region of Iraq under Kurdish control; the number of family members arrested on political charges; religious belief; location during the 1991 Uprising; and affiliation to the parties of the Kurdistan Front. Great pressure is put on registrants to register as Arab instead of Kurdish, including demands to produce the deeds to their houses with the threat of confiscation. This "Arabization" affects Kurds and appears also to impact Shiite Muslims who out number Sunni Muslims in Iraq, but are not in favor with the Iraqi Regime. Examples of discriminatory policies against Shi'ites include lesser access to food rations. Detailed information about official polices against Kurds and Shi'ites is difficult to obtain. Some reports suggest that in the past ID Cards of Jews in Iraq were specially marked.

Israel - - - Name and Document form: Teudat Zehut, ID Card; Year established: 1949, 1958; Status: still in use. Categories and groups: The category "leom" (ethnic nationality) is included on the Teudat Zehut card issued to all Israeli citizens as well as in the population registry. Categories include Yehudi (Jewish), Aravi (Arab); Druzi (Druze) and over 100 other options such as Circassian and Bedouin, and "non-Jew." The category "Israeli" is not allowed. Ethnic nationality groups in Israel include Jewish (82%) and non-Jewish groups, mostly Arab (18%). Also a non-citizen ID card is issued to Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem. These non-citizen cards have been selectively confiscated on a large scale as a way of reducing the Arab population eligible to live in East Jerusalem. Comments: Several cases have been brought to the Israeli Supreme Court concerning aspects of the Population Registry Law of 1965, including cases brought by Benjamin Shalit in 1970 and Shoshana Miller in 1986. In the Shalit case the Judges of the Supreme Court urged the government to remove the entry for "leom" from the population registry, but this action was never taken. In more recent cases, including the Miller case, the issue has become tied to the separate "Who is a Jew?" controversy concerning recognition of non-orthodox converts to Judaism and the religious status of over 250,000 immigrants under the Law of Return from the former Soviet Union who are not Jewish according to religious law. In August 2000, Acting Minister of Interior, Haim Ramon, (Labor) announced a plan to remove the "leom" category from the Teudat Zehut, while allowing the "leom" entry in the population registry to remain. Former Minister of Interior Natan Sharansky, member of the opposition, supported removal as did Arab members of the Knesset, led by Azmi Bishara, although Arab members stated that they considered the issue an internal Jewish matter. Likud MKs and members of the three religious parties - NRP, Shas and United Torah Judaism opposed removal of the 'leom' category. A majority of the members of the Knesset's Law, Justice and Constitution Committee appeared to support removal and a vote on Ramon's proposal in the Committee was scheduled for October 3. After fighting began on Sept. 29, 2001 the plan was dropped. Sources: Shahar Ilan, "Who is a Jew, again", Ha'aretz, 18 Sept. 2000; Dan Izenberg, "MKs discusses striking nationality from ID cards", Jerusalem Post, 27 Sept. 2000.

Japan - - - Name and Document form: Alien registration cards; Year established: not known; Status: still in use. Categories and groups: Japanese citizenship is based on the nationality of the parent rather than on the place of birth. Permanent foreign residents are required to renew registration every five years. Descendants of foreigners are also permanent foreign residents, despite being born and educated in Japan and speaking only Japanese. This is the case with 1.2 million permanent foreign residents, including most Koreans in Japan.  Comments: In August 1993, after a decade long campaign of civil disobedience encouraging refusal of the fingerprinting that accompanied registration every five years, the Diet passed a law ending repeated fingerprinting of permanent foreign residents. Opponents of fingerprinting argued that it was discriminatory to associate registrants with criminals. The courts upheld fingerprinting, but the law now requires fingerprinting only once rather than with each renewal of the registration. In June, 1999, two persons of Korean ancestry returned their residency cards to protest all registration of permanent foreign residents.

Group Classification on National ID Cards
Main Text
(Afghanistan - Japan)
Sample images
of National ID Cards

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