Blockchain Tech Employed to Give Stateless Rohingya People Digital IDs

Blockchain, News | December 22, 2017 By:

The Rohingya Project will be using blockchain technology to solve the problem of identification faced by the Rohingya people.

The Rohingya, whom experts say are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world, are a stateless Indo-Aryan people from Rakhine State, Myanmar. They have been subjected to abuse for a number of years, particularly after the enactment of the Burma Citizenship Law in 1982, which officially left the Rohingya stateless. There were an estimated one million Rohingya living in Myanmar before the 2016–17 crisis. On Oct. 22, the United Nations reported that an estimated 603,000 refugees from Rakhine – who are denied citizenship in Buddhist-majority Burma – had crossed the border into Bangladesh since August. This number increased to 624,000 by November, and over 625,000 by December.

The Rohingya Project said there are nearly 3.5 million stateless Rohingya worldwide, the vast majority of whom are undocumented and therefore denied access to basic services, such as financial transactions, healthcare, travel, etc.

The blockchain pilot project is set to provide the Rohingya people with digital identity cards, which will help them access basic services such as banking, education, and healthcare. Individual Rohingya will have their ancestry authentically identified to link them directly to their original lands of dispersion.

“While much international attention has focused on the victims of the conflict in Burma, this project will engage public support to address the problems of statelessness and financial exclusion for the future of the Rohingya,” said Muhammad Noor, co-founder of the Project and himself a Rohingya.

The project is currently raising RM500,000 ($122,235 USD) to execute the first phase of the project, which will create a database of 1,000 undocumented Rohingya in Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, and Bangladesh, and then provide them with individual digital identities using blockchain technology.

“Using their own unique blockchain-based digital identities and crowdfunded resources, Rohingya diaspora communities will be given their chance to improve their own condition,” said Kyri Andreou, co-founder of the Project. “This includes opportunities for vocational training, employment and entrepreneurship to allow the Rohingya to tap into their potential.”