Panel 1 | Foundations of National Identification Systems: Political, legal and civil frameworks

Thursday November 19, 4:30 – 6:00pm

governance puzzle


This panel explores the political, legal, and civil foundations of national identification systems.


Jacqueline Bhabha, Director of Research, Harvard FXB Center for Health & Human Rights


Jacqueline Bhabha is director of Research, FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the Jeremiah Smith Jr. Lecturer in Law at Harvard Law School, and an adjunct lecturer in public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. She received a first class honors degree and an MSc from Oxford University, and a JD from the College of Law in London. From 1997 to 2001 Bhabha directed the Human Rights Program at the University of Chicago. Prior to 1997, she was a practicing human rights lawyer in London and at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. She has published extensively on issues of transnational child migration, refugee protection, children’s rights and citizenship. She is the editor of Children Without A State (MIT Press, 2011), author of Child Migration & Human Rights in a Global Age (Princeton University Press, 2014), and the editor of Human Rights and Adolescence (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014). Bhabha serves on the board of the Scholars at Risk Network, the World Peace Foundation and the Journal of Refugee Studies. 


Alan Gelb, Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development

A_gelb_hr 1115Alan Gelb is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Development. His recent research includes the areas of identification systems and development and the applications of biometric technology, resultsbased aid, African competitiveness and development, and the special challenges of resource-rich countries. Gelb was previously director of development policy at the World Bank and chief economist for the bank’s Africa region. He was staff director for the 1996 World Development Report “From Plan to Market.”

Mia Harbitz, former Lead Specialist in Identity Management and Registry, Inter-American Development Bank

mia harbitzMia Harbitz is the former lead specialist in identity management and registries for the Inter- American Development Bank (IADB). Since 2004 she has coordinated the IADB’s activities in the area of identity management, including a series of studies assessing the practical implications of underregistration of citizens in Latin America. Over the course of a 25-year career, she has designed and managed development projects that modernized and strengthened the capacities of civil and identification registries in Latin America. These projects also improved the quality of national vital statistics systems and promoted universal birth registration and civil identification. She has authored and contributed to numerous publications and books on legal identity, identity management, the implications of under-registration, and social inclusion as a means to poverty reduction. While at the IADB she was responsible for extensive and worldwide coordination with other multilateral agencies, development banks, and governments. Her academic background is in engineering, and prior to coming to Latin America in 1991 she worked in development programs in East Africa and the Middle East.

Tariq Malik, former Chairman, National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), Pakistan

tariq malikTariq Malik is the former chairman of the National Database & Registration Authority, Pakistan. Before joining Teradata, Malik spearheaded one of the world’s largest multi-biometric system rollouts, resulting in registration of more than 121 million citizens along their associated biometric attributes. He is a visionary IT leader who used Identity Database coupled with data analytics for increasing tax net, combating crime and corruption, social development, empowering women, strengthening democracy, reforming governance, and reducing poverty in Pakistan. CNN called him a “man on a mission” when he identified 3.5 million tax evaders in Pakistan using data analytics coupled with biometrics. Tariq lead similar projects in the US, Kenya, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Bahrain, and Bangladesh. He helped various institutions of the UN (UNHCR, ICAO, UNDP) and the World Bank (Poverty Score Card, BISP, Disaster Management) in transparency efforts. Tariq holds master’s degrees in both international management and computer science and a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and statistics.

Bronwen Manby, Visiting Senior Fellow, Centre for the Study of Human Rights, London School of Economics and Political Science

BronwenManby_Testa.OSF London.009Bronwen Manby is an independent consultant and visiting fellow at the London School of Economics Centre for the Study of Human Rights. She previously worked for the Open Society Foundations and Human Rights Watch. She has written widely on human rights, democracy, and good governance in Africa. Her current focus is on statelessness and the right to nationality, with ongoing work for the Open Society Foundations, UNHCR, IOM, and others. She has published extensively on this theme and just completed a doctorate at the Faculty of Law of the University of Maastricht whose title is “Citizenship and Statelessness in Africa: The law and politics of belonging.” She is involved in ongoing advocacy for the adoption of a protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the right to a nationality in Africa, and was the lead author of the section on nationality for the General Comment on the right to a name, birth registration, and a nationality adopted in 2014 by the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.