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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Mobile team seeks to register entire population

Mobile team seeks to register entire population

A mobile, volunteer-based pilot project to register all civilians aged between one

and 100 years has begun in selected communes in Svay Rieng, Kampong Speu and Ratanakkiri

provinces.

The government's target is to have 95 percent of all Cambodian civilians registered

by August 2005, but so far only 5 percent have done so.

The war and its aftermath have disrupted the system and the only feasible way to

achieve the target of registering the whole population is to conduct a mobile civil

registration campaign.

The pilot is being conducted by Plan International, supported by United Nations volunteers,

and with a budget of $750,000. Plan is an international charity working with children

to alleviate poverty.

"Civil registration is critical for establishing one's identity as a citizen

of a given country under the rules and regulations that govern this process,"

said Shabir Ahmed, the co-ordinator. "Mobile civil registration in Cambodia

is to achieve a number of the objectives including registration of eligible citizens,

capacity building of the commune councils in planning and implementation, as well

as hands-on registration training."

Preparations began this month and UN volunteer teams arrive in June-July. The main

registration work will begin in August.

"Registration, and particularly birth registration, is a ticket to citizenship

in society," said Robert Wildschut, UNV Co-ordinator.

"UNV has extensive experience with civil and voter registration in other countries

and can draw from a large pool of international professionals with the required background.

By supporting the government in this campaign we are hoping to promote volunteerism

and strengthen the existing system in place."

Mobile registration is a methodology to insure that all the people have an opportunity

to register at a convenience place and in a stipulated period of time. The method

of mobile registration has been successful in places such as South Africa, Kosovo

and East Timor.

In countries where it is clear that people may not make an effort to register in

a stipulated period of time the use of mobile registration become a key intervention.

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