UNHCR pilots biometric registration program at refugee camp in Malawi

UN refugee agency UNHCR recently released its mid-year trend report, which among other things highlights the agency’s work in registering the biometric details of refugees in person at camps to compile information on refugee movements, according to a report by SciDev.Net.

UNHCR began piloting a biometric registration system at the Dzaleka refugee camp in Mali in early 2014 in which it has been collecting fingerprints, iris scans and photographs of refugees.

Tarek Abou Chabake, a senior statistician at UNHCR, said the biometric registration program improves the system’s accuracy because it offers a secure way of identifying those refugees who lack identification documents.

Using this information, UNHCR is able to ensure that those refugees who do not have identification documents will receive proper care and protection wherever they go.

According to Abou Chabake the registration process entails government or UNHCR officials interviewing the refugees and submitting their information to a database.

Since it is hard to register forcibly displaced individuals who are not in camps, Abou Chabake said that these individuals are often underrepresented in the agency’s statistics.

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