Colombia and biometric tracking of Venezuelan migrants
Despite having opened their borders to and taking in millions of fleeing Venezuelan migrants, the Colombian government’s handling process for this population tells a story of discrimination rather than inclusion.
The 2021 issuance of the Temporary Statute for Venezuelan Migrants came with a legal framework laying out the benefits for incoming Venezuelans, but also outlined how a multibiometric system would be used for identification of this specific migrant group.
This system allows for collection and management of biographic, demographic and multiple types of biometric data such as faceprints, fingerprint and iris scans. In order for Venezuelan migrants to regularise their situation they must register in the Registro Único de Migrantes Venezolanos (RUMV) which demands the collection of these types of biometric data alongside socio-economic information. The combination of these two types of data allows for the government to not only identify this population, but also to profile individuals within it.
This system holds within itself the potential for discrimination, since people’s social characteristics are combioned with their uniquely identifying biometric data. Especially considering the state of vulnearability of the migrant group that it is targeting.
Writer: Carolina Botero