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UNHCR completes testing of biometric system at Malawi Refugee Camp


The UNHCR has completed the initial testing of a biometric system in the Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Malawi.

According to a new report from the UN Refugee Agency, the new system stored fingerprints, iris data and photographs for facial recognition.

The UNHCR is working with an unnamed private sector partner to develop this system.

“The experience in Malawi will inform our decision on further development and roll-out of the new biometrics tool in our operations around the world,” Steven Corliss, director of UNHCR’s division of programme support and management said in the UNHCR report. “Improving the accuracy of registration data is a priority for UNHCR in our efforts to make a positive impact in the lives of the people we serve. It is also of significant importance to host governments.”

Throughout the month-long exercise, nearly 17,000 refugees registered in the system. Once it’s rolled out, the new solution will support standard registration activities, implementing policy standards issued by the agency in 2010.

Reported previously in BiometricUpdate.com, early last year, the UNHCR posted an RFP for a biometric identity management and enrollment system. As of yet, it is unclear if this RFP is related to the testing taking place in Malawi.

Unrelated to the refugee camp tests, the Malawi Electoral Commission has decided to cancel its plans for a biometrics-supported election in 2014.

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