Prevent Genocide International 

Global Survey of Group Classification on National ID Cards

Findings of a global survey, part 2 (Jo to Vi)

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.

Jordan - - - Name and Document form: National ID card; Year established: not known; Status: still in use. Categories and groups : ID Cards includes religious affiliation. Of 5 million people over 95% are Sunni Muslim. Christians, especially in the cities of Husn and Fuheis make up 2 to 4 percent of the population. Druze, in the cities of Azraq and Mafraq and elsewhere number about 20,000. There are also a small number of Shiite Muslims, and less than 800 Baha'is. Comments: Baha'i and Druze are allowed to leave the religious affiliation line blank or be recorded as Muslim. Source: US Department of State, International Religious Freedom Report, 26 Oct. 2001.

Kenya - - - Name and Document form: Kitambulisho, also called "kipande", National ID card. Also special cards for ethnic Somalis; Date group affiliation was added: Sept. 1996; Status: still in use. Categories and groups : Kenyans must carry a National ID card (kitambulisho) at all times. After 1996 the bearers "kabila/tribe" group has appeared on the cards, and earlier cards are no longer valid. Groups in the 30 million population include Embu, Giriama, Kalenjin (12%), Kamba (11%), Kikuyu (14%), Kisii (6%), Luhya (14%), Luo (13%), Maasai, Meru (6%), Somali, Taita, Turkana, as well as about 1% of Asians and Europeans. Ethnic Somalis must carry a second pink-colored  ID card. Comments: The new national ID cards cards were introduced before the 1997 Presidential election. There have been complaints that lack of availability of ID cards in some regions has been a barrier to voting. Ethnic conflict, both in rural and urban settings, has been increasing in Kenya in since the early 1990s.

Laos - - - Name and Document form: National ID card; Year established: not known; Status: still in use. Categories and groups : National ID cards display the religious affiliations of all adult citizens. The population of Laos is about 5.2 million. Theravada Buddhists, living especially in among lowland areas, number about 60 to 65% of the population. Many believers in animism -- an estimated 30 percent of the population -- are found among Lao Theung (mid-slope dwelling) and Lao Soung (highland) minority tribes. Christians, including about 30,000 to 40,000 Catholics and 30,000 to 40,000 Protestants are about 1.5 percent of the population. Other minority religions include the Baha'i Faith (about 1,200), Islam (about 400), Mahayana Buddhism, and Confucianism. In many areas, minority believers (Animist or Christian) are identified incorrectly as "Buddhist" on identity cards. Requests to change the religious designation are often refused. Comments: When police question members of groups assembling for religious purposes, if the ID card does not confirm the stated reason for assembling, the bearer may be subject to additional scrutiny and questioning. Source: US Department of State, International Religious Freedom Report, 26 Oct. 2001.

Lebanon - - - Name and Document form: Tathkarat al-Hawiya or Ikhraj Kayd qayd, National ID card; Date established: 1970s; Status: partial removal of religious affiliation in March 1997. Categories and groups : Cards issued in the 1970s included religious affiliation. No new cards were issued until March 1997. These new cards do not list religious affiliation, however the cardbearer's religious affiliation still can be determined through reading the bar code which appears on the cards. The population of about 4.2 million includes 18 officially recognized religious groups. Moslem groups include Shiite, Sunni, Druze, Alawites and the Ismailis. Christian groups include Maronites, Roman Catholics, Greek Orthodox (ethnic Arabs using a Greek-language liturgy), Greek Catholics, Armenian Orthodox (Gregorians), Armenian Catholics, Syrian Orthodox (Jacobites), Syrian Catholics, Assyrians (Nestorians), Chaldeans, Copts, Protestants and Evangelicals. From an ethnic perspective the population is more homogenous with 95% Arabs, 4% Armenians and 1% other. Comments: For many decades religious affiliation on ID Cards facilitated polarization and violence. In compliance with the 1989 Taif Accord, the new card does not list the religion or sect of the holder.

Macedonia - - - Name and Document form: Licna karta, National ID card; Year established: 1995; Status: still in use.
Categories and groups :
All Macedonian residents age 18 and over must carry an identity card (licna karta) issued by the Ministry of Internal Affairs (Ministerstvo za Vnatresni Raboti). The card displays the photograph, date and place of birth, and the address of the bearer. The 1995 Law on Identity Cards 1995, article 5 (2) reads: "the names of the persons belonging to nationalities are written also in the language and alphabet of the nationality. The population of about 2 million includes about 65% Macedonians are 30% Albanians. Comments: Debate on this ID card law in February 1995 was very controversial, with ethnic Albanian members of parliament staging a walkout.
Source: Official Gazette of the Republic of Macedonia, No. 8/95.

Malaysia - - - Name and Document form: NRIC; Year established: not known; Year religious affiliation added: 1999; Status: still in use. Categories and groups : Malaysia has long included race (bangsa) on their ID cards. In October 1999 the government moved to add religion (agama) to ID cards. Malaysia has ID cards of four different colors: blue for citizens; red for permanent residents; green for limited-stay residents; brown for ex-convicts and "political offenders". The population is about 23 million. According to the 1991 census religious groups include: Muslim , mostly Sunni (59%), Buddhist (18%), Christian (8%), Hindu (6%)., Confucianism, Taoism, or other religions that originated in China (5%), traditional indigenous religion, especially in Sarawak and Sabah (1%) and 0.5 percent other faiths, including Sikhism and the Baha'i Faith. Comments: Adherence to Islam is considered intrinsic to Malay ethnic identity. In April 2001, a High Court judge rejected the application of a Malay woman Lina Joy (formerly Azlina Jailani) who argued that she had converted to Christianity, and requested that the term "Islam" be removed form her identity card.

Myanmar (Burma) - - - Name and Document form: National ID Card; Year established: not known, new format in 1990; Status: still in use. Categories and groups : Race and religion appears on ID Cards, but the system of classification is irregular. Ethnic groups include Bamar, Kachin, Kayah, Kayin (Karen), Chin, Mon, Rakhine (Arkan) and Shan as well as Chinese and Indian. Religious categories include Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, and traditional religions. The great majority of the country's 50 million people at least nominally follow Theravada Buddhism. Buddhist monks, including novices, number more than 300,000 persons, about 2 percent of the male Buddhist population. There are minorities of Christians (about 4%, Baptists, Catholics and Anglicans), Muslims (about 4% mostly Sunni), Hindus, and practitioners of traditional Chinese and indigenous religions. Comments: Distinctions are also made for ancestry prior to 1823, including full citizens, associate citizens, and naturalized citizens. In 1965 monks of the Buddhist Sangha protested a government effort to register them and issue them ID cards. They maintained this refusal until May 1980 when they submitted to these policies.

Pakistan - - - Name and Document form: NIC, National ID card; Year established: National Registration Act 1973. not known; Status: still in use. Categories and groups : In 1992 the government introduced, then withdrew, a new policy to add religious affiliation on ID cards. Religious affiliation appears on the application for ID cards and also on Pakistani Passports. In order to obtain a passport, Muslims  must affirm declare that Ahmadis are non-Muslims, and specifically denounce the founder of the Ahmadi movement. A religiously segregated Separate Electorate System (SES) was introduced in 1979 by the military government of General Zia-ul Haq, applying first to village and municipal elections. In 1985 SES was extended to provincial and national elections, causing many to boycott the polls. Of the 217 seats in Pakistan's National Assembly, ten are reserved for religious minorities (four for Christians, four for Hindus and two for others). On Jan. 5, 2001 in Gujrat, the Federal Minister for Minorities' Affairs Col. (Retd.) S. K. Treeslor said that only restoration of joint electorates could bring national integrity in the country. According to the 1981 census (latest available figures), an estimated 95 percent of the population are Muslim; 1.56 percent are Christian; 1.51 percent are Hindu; and 0.26 percent are "other" (including Ahmadis). Current population estimates place the number of Christians at 3 million and the number of Ahmadis at 3 to 4 million. Current estimates for the remaining communities are less contested and place the total number of Hindus at 2.8 million; Parsis (Zoroastrians), Buddhists, and Sikhs at as high as 20,000 each; and Baha'is at 30,000. Comments: Protest in 1992 by Christians and others resulted in withdrawal of the proosal to add religious classification to ID cards. Government officials stated that the 1992 policy had been intended to identify Ahmadis, members of a religious sect, which the government refuses to recognize as Muslim.

Russia - - - Name and Document form: Identity documents, also Propiska (resident permit); Year established: 1932; Status: replaced in Sept. 1997, old documents are still valid. Categories and groups : Ethnic nationality [natsional'nost']appeared on Soviet-era ID cards [ See entry for USSR , but not the new ID Cards and passports issued after 1997. The propiska (resident permit) system with reference to ethnicity is often enforced in Russia, although formally revoked as unconstitutional. Ethnic Groups: Russian (87%), Tatar (4%), Ukrainian (3%), others (11 percent).Comments: In Article 26 the Russian Federation Constitution of 1993 states: "No one may be forced to determine or indicate his ethnic affiliation." Extreme nationalists have protested the omission of ethnicity from post-1997 ID cards. Over 30 of Russia's 89 regions have laws unconstitutionally restricting local migration or registration. The Constitutional Court declared restrictions on duration of registration at place of sojourn and floor space quotas, as well as regional restrictions unconstitutional on February 2, 1998. In response Moscow Mayor Luzhkov announced he would refuse to obey the Court's ruling. Residence registration in Russia is restricted by multiple local, regional and national regulations. Another restriction is exorbitant fees are sometimes charged for registration, especially in large urban areas. Sources: Articles by Susan Brazier; Valery Tishkov, New Russian Passports Must Silence Ethnic Rancour, 9 Dec 1997, InterPress Service.

See largeRwanda - - - Name and Document form: Carte d'identité, National ID card; Year established: 1933, 1962; Status: discontinued in 1996. Categories and groups : "Ethnicity" ("Ubwoko" in Kinyarwanda and "Ethnie" in French) appeared immediately beneath the cardbearer's photograph as the uppermost item on page two of the Rwandan ID card. Four possible "ethnic" categories appeared with the issuing official striking a line through all but the applicable category, for example "Ubwoko (Hutu , Tutsi, Twa, Naturalisé)" . The term "Naturalisé" applied to naturalized citizens. Because the cardbearer's name appeared on page one, the name could not be seen together with the photograph and ethnicity, except by turning back to the first page. Below the ethnicity entry pages 2 and 3 of the card included entries for place of birth, date of birth, profession, place of issue, name of spouse, signature of the issuing official and the names and birth dates of up to 12 children. The ethnicity item on the ID card first appeared on ID cards issued by Belgian colonial authorities after 1933. The entry for ethnicity on ID cards was retained after Independence in 1962. Before April 1994, about 85% of the population were Hutu, 14% Tutsi, and less than 1% Batwa (Twa). Scholars suggest that prior to the rigid Belgian classification system imposed after 1926 on Rwandans through ID cards, the census and in employment and education quotas, the Hutu and Tutsi could better have best been described as social caste groups and not separate ethnic groups. Hutus and Tutsis in Rwanda share a common language and religious affiliations. Physical differences sometimes exist, but not always. Intermarriage between the groups has always occurred with some frequency. After the genocide, new cards were issued without the ethnic entry (new residency cards in 1995 and new National ID cards in 1996). Comments: In July 1991, NGOs strongly recommended removal of ethnicity from ID cards. Article 16 of  the August 1993 Arusha Accords also required this action by the projected transitional government. ID cards were used to identify Tutsi victims for death during the 1994 genocide.

Saudi Arabia - - - Name and Document form: National ID cards and Iqamas (resident identity cards); Year established: not known; Status: still in use. Categories and groups : Only Muslims can be citizens of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Government requires noncitizens to carry Iqamas (resident identity cards), which contain a religious designation for "Muslim" or "non-Muslim."  Saudi Arabia has a population of 15 million citizens, including about 14 million Sunni (mostly of the orthodox Wahhabi sect) and as many as 1 million Shiite Muslims (most Shiites reside in the eastern province). Non-Wahhabi Muslims clerics have no official standing. About 1 million ethnic Yemeni people live in Saudi Arabia. About 7 million foreigners reside in the country, including approximately 1.5 million Indians, 900,000 Bangladeshis, 800,000 Egyptians, nearly 800,000 Pakistanis, 600,000 Filipinos, 130,000 Sri Lankans, and 36,000 Americans. Foreigners include Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, and Jews. The Embassy of the Philippines reports that over 90 percent of the 600,000 Filipinos are Christian. Comments: In December 2001 for the first time Saudi women were issued National ID cards, including a photo of the bearer's uncovered face. In the past the names of Saudi women have been included only on a Family ID card listing them as dependents of a father or husband.

See largeSerbia & Montenegro - - - Name and Document form: Licna karta, National ID card; Year established: not known; Status: still in use. Categories and groups : All residents of the “FRY” over age 18 must carry an identity card (Licna Karta) issued by the Secretariat for Internal Affairs (Sekretarijat za Unutrasnje Poslove). It contains the photograph, date and place of birth, and address of the bearer. The population of about 10.6 million includes Serbs (65%) and Montenegrins (6%). Also included are ethnic Albanian Muslims primarily in Kosovo, ethnic Hungarians primarily in Vojvodina, Muslims in the Sandzak region, Croats and others. Comments: The Serbian Identification Law prescribes that the ID card forms should be in Serbian language and the “other languages of those ethnic groups who are granted constitutional right to use their own mother tongue.” Data on an ID card is written in the languages of ethnic groups, in accordance with article 20 of the law. Source: See http://www.mup.sr.gov.yu/ domino/formulari.nsf/pages/formulari#LK

Singapore - - - Name and Document form: National Registration Identity Card (NRIC); Year established: not known; Status: still in use. Categories and groups : ID Cards include a racial category, for Chinese (76%), Malay (15%), Indian (6%) and European and other (3%).  Comment: The United Kingdom had a National Identity card between 1939 to 1951, the legacy of this card may have influenced some former British colonies where the practice continued even after a court in the United Kingdom ordered the practice to be ended.

Slovenia - - - Name and Document form: Osebna Izkaznica; Year established: not known; Status: still in use. Categories and groups : Law on Personal Identity Cards of 20 November 1997, Article 6: "The forms for personal identity cards shall be printed in Slovene and English, and also in Italian or Hungarian in the areas determined by statute in which people of Italian or Hungarian ethnicity respectively live together indigenously with people of Slovene ethnicity."

Spain - - - Name and Document form: Special cards; Year established: not known; Status: still in use. Categories and groups : Spanish citizens of Ceuta and Melilla (Spanish enclaves in North Africa) have special identity cards issued to them. Ceuta has 70,000 residents and Melilla has 60,000 residents. Many residents, especially in Mellila, are Muslims. The primary National ID card is the Documento Nacional de Identidad (DNI) issued to all citizens over age 14. All foreign residents are issued a Numero Identification Extranjeros (NIE) card. Comments: Ceuta, opposite Gibraltar, and Melilla (to the east) have been Spanish possessions since 1580 and 1496 respectively. Ceuta is known as Sabta in Arabic. In 1999 Morocco asked Spain for a review of the sovereignty of the enclaves.

South Africa - - - Name and Document form: Reference books (Pass laws); Year established: 1891, 1952, 1966; Status: reformed in 1986, Apartheid regime ended in 1994. Categories and groups : The 96 page reference books, issued from 1952 to 1986 included racial categories: Black (Africans), White (Europeans); Coloured (Coloured included Malay, Griqua, Chinese, Indian, other Asiatic and "other Coloured."). These books were used to control place of work, residence and nearly every aspect of people's lives. Racial and ethnic groups now in South Africa include Black (75%), White (14%), mixed race (9%), Indian (2%). Comments: Pass laws were essential part of Apartheid policies and were a focus of ANC protest during the 1950s, including the protest on March 21, 1960 which became the Sharpeville massacre. In the 1966 the U.S. Polaroid Corporation began supplying the "ID-2 instant identification system" to the South African military and "Bantu Reference Bureau" for making ID cards. On Oct. 5, 1970 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, two African-American employees of Polaroid Corporation - a photographer named Ken Williams and a chemist named Caroline Hunter - founded a worker's movement demanding their employer terminate involvement with the Apartheid regime. Polaroid initially refused this action, justifying continuation through a widely advertised "Experiment" in "corporate responsibility" which lasted until 1974. After 1974 Polaroid secretly continued supplying equipment, but eventuality cut off all shipments to South Africa on November 21, 1977.

See largeSri Lanka - - - Name and Document form: National Identity Card (NIC), also special ID cards for certain districts; Year established: 1972; Status: still in use. Categories and groups : Ethnic/Religious categories appear on the NIC issued all citizens over age 18. The Sri Lankan population is about 18.5 million, including Sinhalese (74 percent), Tamil (18 percent), Muslim (descendants of Moors - 7 percent), and 1% other including Burgher (descendants of Dutch and other Europeans), Malay, Vedda. Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity all are practiced in the country. Approximately 70 percent of the population are Buddhist, 15 percent are Hindu, 7 percent are Muslim, and 8 percent are Christian. In addition to the NIC card military authorities require various passes and documents. Comments: Ethnic/Religious categories on the ID cards The Sri Lankan population is about 18.5 million, including Sinhalese (74 percent), Tamil (18 percent), Muslim (descendants of Moors - 7 percent), and 1% other including Burgher ( descendants of Dutch and other Europeans), Malay, Vedda. Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity all are practiced in the country. Approximately 70 percent of the population are Buddhist, 15 percent are Hindu, 7 percent are Muslim, and 8 percent are Christian. In addition to the NIC card military authorities require various passes and documents. There has been ethnic conflict since the 1950s and ethnic civil war since 1983. The government uses ID cards to profile Tamils. The Tamil rebels (mostly Hindus) expelled Muslims from rebel held territory in early 1990s.

Syria - - - Name and Document form: Special ID cards and stamps on the regular ID card; Year established: not known; Status: still in use. Categories and groups : Special ID card policies impact Syrian Kurds and Syrian Jews. Kurds are issued  special red identity cards. ID cards of Syrian Jews include the word MUSSAWI ("follower of Moses") stamped in red. Both groups have restricted rights. Ethnic Groups: Arab (90%), other, including Kurd and Armenian (10%). The Jewish population is in the hundreds. Comments: After decades of persecution during which Jews were prohibited from leaving Syria, most Jews (several thousand) emigrated in the early 1990s.

Thailand - - - Name and Document form: National ID cards, Special cards for highland groups; Date religious affiliation added: April 12, 1999; Status: still in use. Categories and groups : Since April 12, 1999, the Ministry of Interior has issued ID Cards with an optional designation for religious affiliation. The change in policy was in response to the demands of parliamentarians who wanted easier identification of persons requiring Muslim burial. Buddhists are estimated to be 85 to 94% of the 62 million population.  Muslims, estimated at 5 to 10% are mostly ethnic Malays, living in provinces bordering Malaysia. Christians, estimated between 0.7 and 2.0% live in Chiang Mai Province, Bangkok and the northeast. Other religions include Hindu, Sikh, Taoist and Animist. Comments: Highlanders are issued with a special blue card certifying them to be Thai. Pink cards are issued by Thai authorities to refugees from Burma. Some ID cards carried by members of northern hill-tribes, even persons born in Thailand, bear ID cards that restrict them from travel elsewhere in Thailand.

See largeTurkey - - - Name and Document form: Nüfus Cuzdani (Population Card), also known as Kimlik kartý; Year established: not known; Status: still in use. Categories and groups : The Nüfus Cuzdani (Population Card) is the national ID card, and must be carried at all times after age 15. The religion (Dini)of the cardbearer is noted on the top of the back side. Categories of religion include "Islam", "Rum Ortodoks" (Greek Orthodox), "Ermeni" (Armenian Orthodox). Persons with incorrect "Muslim" category could not change their religious category to Christian. Members of the Kurdish minority who are Muslims have no ethnic category, but can sometimes be identified by birthplace (Dogum Yeri) , or place of issue (Verildigi Yer). The card also includes names of the cardbearer's father and mother. Turks are about 80 to 88% of the 65 million population. Kurds, not recognized as a separate group, live primarily in the southwest, number approximately 8 to 12 million. There is a significant Shi'a minority, of which an estimated 12 million are Alevis, many living near the Syrian border. Non-Muslim religious minorities, most residing in Istanbul and other large cities, include about 50,000 Armenian Orthodox, 25,000 Jews, 15,000 Syrian Orthodox (Syriac) Christians, 10,000 Baha'is, 4,000 Greek Orthodox, 3,000 Protestants and smaller numbers of Bulgarian, Chaldean, Nestorian, Georgian, and Maronite Christians. According to one resident of Istanbul it is permissible to carry a Sürücü Belesi (Driving License), a card on which religious affiliation does not appear, instead of the Nüfis Cuzadani. Comments: In August and September 2000 the Democratic Left Party (DSP) and the Motherland Party (ANAP) proposed that 'religion' (Dini) and 'marital status' (Medini Hali) be removed from ID cards. At that time Justice Minister Hikmet Sami Turk argued for removal of religion, Interior Minister Sadettin Tantan stated that religion should be retained, while Virtue Party (FP) member Recai Kutan proposed people have the option to leave the line blank. A news report from April 2001 indicated that the religion classification would be retained. Sources: Milliyet, "Removal of Religion from New Identity Cards Cause Debate," 5 Aug. 2000; Turkish News, "Identity Card Bill Presented to Parliament, 17 April 2001


USA (Present) - - - Name and Document form: CDIB cards, Year established: not known; Status: still in use. Categories and groups: The Federal Government's Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) issues CDIB (Certificate of Degree of Indian or Alaska Native Blood) cards to members of federally recognized Indian tribes, certifying that an individual possesses a specific degree of Indian blood. The card displays the bearer's name, date of birth, date of issue, documented blood degree, names of the federally recognized tribe or tribes from which the blood degree is derived, the base roll identified, the issuing BIA officer's signature and title, office and address, followed by a long statement beginning, "This CDIB is the property of the US Government. . ." which in one part states that the card does not constitute membership in the referenced tribes, because membership is determined solely by those tribes. Federal regulations state that "Degree of Indian Blood is computed from lineal ancestors of Indian blood whose names appear on the designated base rolls of a federally recognized Indian tribe" and "Indian means any person of Indian or Alaska Native Blood who is a member of those tribes listed or eligible to be listed in the Federal Register pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 479a-1(a); or any descendent of a person who was residing within its boundaries of any Indian reservation on June 1, 1934; or any person not a member of one of the listed or eligible tribes who possesses at least one-half degree of Indian blood. For the purposes of these regulations, Eskimos and other aboriginal peoples of Alaska shall be considered Indians." Ethnic Groups in the United States include White (73%), Black (13%), Hispanic (10%), Asian-Pacific (3%), Native American [Indian] (1%). Comment: The cards are issued on a voluntary basis, but are usually required before an individual can receive certain benefits and services because many Federal laws require proof of Indian blood for various purposes. Source: Federal Register Vol. 65, no. 75 (18 April 2000), p. 20775-20787.

USA (Recent) - - - Name and Document form: State Drivers Licenses, Year established: about 1910; Status: discontinued. Categories and groups : As recently as the 1970s many State Drivers Licenses (the primary form of ID card in the USA) displayed a category for "race" along with physical features such as sex, height, weight, eye color and hair color. 

See largeUSA (WWII) - - - Name and Document form: Special Identification Tags with family number. Persons of all ages were required to hang the special Tag from the lapel of their outer clothing; Year established: 1942; Status: discontinued in 1945-46. Categories and groups : A total of 110,000 Persons of Japanese ancestry in the Washington, Oregon, California and Southern Arizona, including 80,000 US citizens, were held in internment camps or centers in 13 states under Executive Order 9066 signed by President Franklin Roosevelt on February 19, 1942. This population was held in confinement until October to December of 1945, with some held until October 30, 1946. A total of 127,000 persons of Japanese ancestry were living in the US in 1942. Comments: With encouragement from the United States, persons of Japanese ancestry were also interned in Canada, Mexico and Peru, some of them transferred to the United States for the duration of World War II. In 1983 a government commission concluded that internment was not justified by military necessity but resulted from decisions based upon racial prejudice, war hysteria and a failure of political leadership. Following the recommendation of the commission in November 1989 a law funding reparations payments for survivors was passed by Congress. In October 1990 survivors received a checks for $20,000 and a Presidential Letter of Apology. Sources: Personal Justice Denied, report of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians; Lawson Fusao Inada, Editor, Only What We Could Carry: The Japanese American Internment Experience (Berkeley, Calif.: HeyDay Books, 2000).

USA (Pre-Civil War) - - - Name and Document form: "Free Passes", Freedom papers, Deeds of manumission, Year established: various by State law; Status: discontinued in 1863-65. Categories and groups: Free persons of African descent, former slaves of all ages and sexes in the United States were required under various state laws to register, have a white guardian who could vouch for them and to carry passes in public at all times. In 1790 the free Black population was 59,000 of 757,000 Black persons in the United States; in 1830, the population was 319,000 of 2,328,000 people; in 1860, the population was 488,000 of 4,441,000 people. Comments: In addition to the requirement to carry passes, free Blacks held a "quasi-free" status, being made to pay taxes but being forbidden from voting, serving on juries, carrying firearms without a license, and restricted from practicing many trades. Passes were sometimes confiscated and the bearers reenslaved. Free Blacks in all parts of the United States could be kidnapped and sold back into slavery, especially after the approval in 1850 of the federal Fugitive Slave Act requiring magistrates everywhere to aid slave catchers in capturing fugitives. Beginning in 1857 six Southern states passed laws to facilitate the reenslavement of free Blacks, who would be given the opportunity to choose a master. In 1859 the Arkansas legislature approved a law requiring all free Blacks remaining in the State at the end of the year to choose a master and be reenslaved. Source: John Hope Franklin, From Slavery to Freedom, 6th edition, (New York: Knopf, 1988).

USSR - - - Name and Document form: Soviet Internal Passports, including the propiska residence permits found inside; Date established: December 27, 1932; Status: replaced in Russia in September 1997 [see entry for Russia]. Categories and groups: Internal Passports, issued at age 16, specified the bearer's ethnic nationality [natsional'nost'] on line 5. The document was to be renewed every five years, with a propiska, or residency permit stamped inside. The propiska was particularly difficult to obtain in Moscow and other major cities. No change in residence could be made without official permission and failure to register was subject to fines or imprisonment. A valid propiska was required in order to work, get married or gain access to education or social services. Individuals were required to present their passports and propiska for internal travel or on demand by authorities or employers. Comments: Internal passports had been previously issued in Tsarist Russia during the late 19th Century, but were abolished in 1917. The Soviet internal passport system was introduced by the decree of the Central Executive Committee and the Council of People's Commissars on December 27, 1932. At the time of the decree the USSR was enforcing a new system of forced collectivization of agriculture, which amounted to war by the state against the peasantry. Collectivization was especially brutal in the Ukraine where millions died in an artificial famine remembered as the "Holodomor" (extermination by starvation), more recently called the Ukrainian Genocide. The internal passport's notorious "fifth line" on "ethnic nationality" played a role in dozens of actions in which the Soviet regime targeted particular nationality groups for restrictions or even the forced relocation often under conditions which amounted to the partial destruction of the group. After the USSR ceased to exist in December 1991 the internal passports were valid for several years Russia and in other successor states, for example in Estonia until May 15, 1997

Vietnam - - - Document form: National ID Card; Year established: 1975; Status: still in use. Categories and groups : ID cards note ethnicity. The government recognizes 53 ethnic groups and puts ethnicity on the cards. The ethnic Chinese minority (1.8% of the population), called "Hoa" and sometimes "Ngai" in the north. Comments: When tension with China intensified in 1978, ethnic Chinese became the majority of the "Boat People" fleeing from Vietnam. Between April and July 1978, flight of refugees to neighboring countries peaked. A total of 250,000 fled in this period, including 170,000 to China. More recently ethnic hill tribe groups in the central highlands, sometimes called "Montagnards", have found themselves in conflict with the government. Source: Charles Benoit, "Vietnam's 'Boat People', " in David W. Elliot, ed., The Third Indochina Conflict, Boulder: Westview, 1981, pp. 139-162.

Group Classification on National ID Cards
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