Come 2013, Uzbekistan will document citizens’ DNA samples on its national database records in a bid to keep crime rates in check
he new year has new rules in store for Central Asia’s most populous country. Ukbekistan’s criminal records have, in the recent past, continually been on the rise, prompting the government to come up with a new way to curb its increasing crime rates. Next year will see the introduction of a national DNA database of its citizens, which will help track, fight and control crime. The parliament is in the process of formulating a law on ‘genetic registration’, which will establish a legal process for the collection and storage of citizens’ DNA samples by the government.
The DNA registration will be encouraged but will be voluntary, at least in the initial stages. However, convicted criminals and those serving a sentence will have no choice but to submit their biological data to the authorities. The aim of this new ruling is to serve as a deterrent against future crimes.
While on the one hand, this seems like a foolproof plan for a country that is blighted by its high criminal records, one is compelled to question if this is yet another authoritarian decree imposed on its people by the ruling powers. The former USSR-ruled Uzbekistan is known for its totalitarian rule and has frequently been criticised for its human rights violations, holding a poor human rights record when compared to other countries. Questions could be asked about its new DNA registration ruling; could it be yet another case of Big Brother watching over its people?
However, if the process is not misused by the powers that be, it could indeed be a revolutionary method for tackling the country’s criminal problems. If it works, it could be the prototype for reducing crime in other parts of Asia and the world as well. Scientific advancement for the purpose of tackling crime – Scotland Yard, are you listening?