UN Agency Uses Biometrics to Assist Cameroonian Refugees in Nigeria

The UN’s refugee agency will continue to register the biometrics of Cameroonian refugees in Nigeria, the organization says.UN Agency Uses Biometrics to Assist Cameroonian Refugees in Nigeria

In an update concerning a recent visit of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees representative Antonio Jose Canhandula to border regions in Nigeria, the organization says that Canhandula spoke with local authorities to determine how Cameroonian refugees can be assisted without neglecting the needs of their host communities in Nigeria. Coming away from those meetings, the UNHCR representative recommends working with Nigeria’s State Emergency Management Agency to establish temporary camps in which the refugees will have an opportunity to settle for the long term and access opportunities to contribute to their new communities.

It appears that an important component of that effort will be biometric registration, which the UNHCR has been championing as a reliable means of tracking – and assisting – displaced persons who may not be in possession of recognized ID documents. In its update, the agency says that so far 8,050 Cameroonian refugees have been registered in Nigeria’s Cross River and Benue states, yet “[m]any more have not been registered.”

The update comes after the UNHCR partnered with Ethiopia’s Refugee and Returnee Affairs agency to establish a Biometric Identity Management System in that country last autumn, and points to further deployments of biometric registration programs for other refugee groups in the future.