Eve Hayes de Kalaf on Digital Identity

Eve Hayes de Kalaf on Digital Identity

In this edition of the Between the Lines podcast I talk to Dr. Eve Hayes de Kalaf about her book “Legal Identity, Race and Belonging in the Dominican Republic: From Citizen to Foreigner” In this important new book the author examines the complex and contradictory nature of state ID systems and challenges the assumption that the provision of “legal identity for all” will lead to the inclusion of all citizens.

You can listen to the podcast here.

Across the globe states are building citizen registration databases with the promise of providing legal identity for all in alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This aspect of the SDGs aims to provide by 2030 official documentation to the more than one billion people around the world who currently lack legal identity.

The book provide a rich case study illustrating who is advantaged and disadvantages by the implementation of digital identification in the Dominican Republic. The role of international actors, such as the World Bank and the United Nations, in promulgating the universal provision of legal identity is examined alongside the racist practices of the state in denying legal identity to Haitian descended members of the population in order to exclude them from citizenship .

The book provides the definitive analysis of the events leading up to the controversial 2013 Constitutional Tribunal ruling that rendered the Dominican plaintiff Juliana Deguis Pierre stateless. Eve illustrates how racialised measures that purposely blocked people of Haitian ancestry from accessing their legal identity not only affected undocumented and stateless populations – persons living at the fringes of citizenship – but also had a major impact on documented people; Dominicans already in possession of a state-issued birth certificate, national identity card and/or passport – excluding them from citizenship.

The book illustrates the complex and contradictory ways in which ID systems are experienced, thus challenging the assumption within current development policy that the provision of ID to everyone, everywhere will lead to the inclusion of all citizens.

You can purchase the book here.

About the author

Eve Hayes de Kalaf is a research fellow based at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies (ICwS) and a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS), University of London.

About the interviewer

Dr. Tony Roberts is a Research Fellow in the Digital and Technology cluster at the Institute of Development Studies. He has been working at the intersection of digital technologies, international development and social justice since 1988 as a volunteer, lecturer, practitioner, trustee and researcher.

Between the Lines is a podcast series of the Institute of Development Studies.

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