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Ethiopia to enroll all refugees in new biometric system by end of 2018


Ethiopia is carrying out a large-scale biometric enrollment project for refugees to deliver better protection and assistance to them in accord with the country’s Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF), which addresses the pledges of the 2016 New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants.

More than 100,000 refugees arrived in the country in 2017, and along with other refugees in the country, all are expected to be registered in the Biometric Identity Management System (BIMS) by the end of 2018, according to a report published Wednesday by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

An agreement reached between the UNHCR and the country, through the Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA) on data sharing and a multi-year registration strategy in late 2016 paved the way for the country-wide launch of the new BIMS in July of this year.

Refugees can register iris scans, 10-digit fingerprints, as well as biographical information about their education, skills, and family members at registration centers, potentially enabling them to live outside of the refugee camp, continue their education, or reunite with family members, the UNHCR says.

Earlier this year, UNHCR’s protection chief emphasized that protecting refugees and ensuring the security of their receiving countries are complementary goals.

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