The UNHCR’s use of biometric identification for refugees is helping the organization to make the case for additional funding for displaced Syrians.
The United Nations’ refugee agency is pressing the case for funding ahead of a deadline this month that will see cash assistance for Syrian refugees run out. Some 5.6 million people have been displaced by Syria’s seven-year civil war, with most arriving in neighboring Jordan and Lebanon, and while the UNHCR says it needs $5.6 billion to keep offering assistance to these refugees, as of late April the organization had only raised about $1.5 billion.
Raising the alarm in a press release, the UNHCR noted that its “use of state-of-the-art biometrics and vulnerability targeting systems ensures cash assistance is securely delivered to those people who need it most, in the most cost-efficient way.” It’s a way of reassuring donors and undercutting criticisms over misuse of charitable aid, and it’s one based solidly in biometric ID technology that can be used to reliably track and assist displaced persons.
The UNHCR has emerged as a strong proponent of biometric IDs in recent years, having launched multiple programs around the world aimed at issuing such IDs to refugee populations, the largest of which just got underway earlier this year in Uganda. And by helping the agency to bolster its case for charitable assistance, the technology is further demonstrating its utility in helping vulnerable populations.
May 10, 2018 – by Alex Perala