Ensuring document security for global safety focus of INTERPOL working group meeting

2 avril 2010

LYON, France – Identifying areas to enhance document security to prevent abuse by criminals and terrorists was the focus of the first INTERPOL working group meeting on Counterfeit and Security Documents.

Birth registration and the issue of birth certificates were key areas for discussion during the three day meeting (31 March – 2 April) which brought together nearly 60 representatives from national law enforcement, Europol, government agencies and private industry specialising in security documents, identity crime, currency and financial crimes.

Birth certificates commonly known as ‘breeder’ or ‘source’ documents which when falsely acquired by criminals and terrorists can be used to obtain a genuine passport, helping them avoid detection when travelling.

According to the UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, 36 per cent of all births are not registered leaving more than 48 million children each year without a legal identity, which not only results in individuals facing problems in obtaining employment, bank accounts and travel documents, but also leaves them open to criminal exploitation such as human trafficking and identity theft.

“As the security features in documents become increasingly more sophisticated, it is equally essential that the links between a person and their identifying document are clearly defined,” said Jamil Darwish, head of INTERPOL’s Counterfeit and Security Document Branch.

“Criminals and terrorists will use any weak link in any area of security, and this working group meeting has provided an important step forward in identifying and addressing these potential loopholes.

“As the world’s largest police organization, INTERPOL is ideally placed to support each of its 188 member countries and specialized agencies develop this type of framework,” concluded Mr Darwish.

Specialists attending the meeting also discussed further developing INTERPOL’s recommendations concerning the production of genuine currency and other security documents.