Friday, June 08, 2007

When IDPs go bad

Nauru, and it's past indiscriminate issuing of passports to anybody who could pay for one, is an example of 'bad IDP', i.e. one that exercises less than the necessary due diligence in vetting it's users before making assertions about them (there are of course lots of other ways for an IDP to be 'bad')

Clearly, once the scam was recognized, customs officers around the world would have had their internal alarm bells set ringing anytime some traveler presented a Nauruan passport. At that point, it would have been almost better to have no travel documents at all than to have one from Nauru.
Traveller: Sorry Officer, I have no papers.
Customs: Hmm, that's a bit awkward, you see we normally do like to see a passport or something. Perhaps you could write yourself a little note saying where you're from?
Traveller: Sorry, no pen.
Officer: Ahh I see, well, that's probably best actually, we're trying to cut out self-asserted. Now let's think about this ...
Officer: (brightly) Say, you're not from Nauru are you?
Traveller: No sir.
Customs: (pause) Welllll, I guess I can make an exception. Just this time though OK?.

Strangely, I have more trust in Nauru's passport office than I do in its national airline.

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