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Sri Lanka okays new IDs to boost post-war security

[Reuters, Friday, 19 August 2011 11:27 No Comment]

Sri Lanka’s government, two years after winning a three-decade war against Tamil Tiger separatists, said on Thursday it would issue electronic identity cards to its citizens as a new security measure.

The island nation’s cabinet has approved the proposal by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, cabinet spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella told reporters in Colombo. He did not say how exactly the government would use the new IDs.

During the war, the government used existing identity cards as a tool to track ethnic minority Tamils through police registration and monitor their activities.

Rights groups and opposition parties said they were seeking details on how the new system would work.

"We still don’t know weather this is just purely to compile data for security measures or to track peoples’ movement," said a rights lawyer who asked not to be identified due to the sensitivity of the issue.

The move comes as the government pressed ahead with its resettlement in the country’s northern area where the state still disputes casualty and death figures given by local residents, rights groups and the United Nations.

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