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UN Agency Facilitates ID Papers To Vulnerable Colombians
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UN Agency Facilitates ID Papers To Vulnerable Colombians
In 2004, an invasion by paramilitary groups caused thousands of Colombians to be internally displaced. Many lost their identity papers during the upheaval and remain undocumented. The United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR, has funded a project that will process documents quickly by sending a mobile truck equipped with self-contained technology to residents in remote areas.
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Produced by UN in Action.

Find out more about the UNHCR's work with internally displaced people in Colombia.

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Segment 1

VOICEOVER
Driving down the back roads of Colombia, South America, a convoy of trucks brings aid to those in need. This time there's a new truck hitting the road. And it's doing something that's never been done before. It's a fully loaded government ID unit on wheels. Its goal: to bring fast-track identity documentation to thousands of indigenous people and to hundreds of thousands of war victims displaced by four decades of civil war. Without proof of their identity, these groups have no rights of citizenship. They have no access to schools, health clinics, even the opportunity to open a business. Without an ID, they're under constant suspicion for illegal activity when crossing numerous checkpoints set up by the many different armed factions fighting for control of Colombia. Aldo Morales is from the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR.
ALDO MORALES
When the population travels and encounters checkpoints, they can face tremendous security risks.
VOICEOVER
And in a crisis, they can't obtain government-issued emergency food, money, and shelter. But now, UNHCR and Colombia's Registry Office launched a campaign to get out, and get the documents to the people, even in the most remote and dangerous areas. Here in the village of El Paraiso, hundreds of miles from the nearest city, the mobile unit arrives, fully loaded. Hundreds line up. Villagers are fingerprinted and personal data, even blood type, is collected. Pictures are taken inside the truck. Everything is then transmitted on the spot by satellite communication to the National Registry Office in the capitol, Bogotá. Here, the information is given priority status as it's downloaded, processed, and archived. The National Office simply does not have the resources to reach those so far away, says Colombia's National Director of Identification, Rodrigo Perez Monroy.
RODRIGO PEREZ MONROY
UNHCR has become a fundamentally important partner. This is because they can get to places that our staff can't.
VOICEOVER
Within two months the IDs are rushed back to their eager owners, most of who now hold proof of their citizenship for the first time in their lives. Mariel Uriana is a teacher in El Paraiso.
MARIEL URIANA
The reason for all this interest is that the document is being requested for healthcare and access to education.
VOICEOVER
Over 180,000 Colombians have received identification cards. Thousands more wait for the ID truck to reach them. Chaim Litewski prepared this report for the United Nations.