The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is moving forward with its plans to use biometric technology to identify and track refugees, and has selected a vendor for the project. Accenture, an international technology services provider, has won out in the competitive tendering process and will oversee the implementation of the technology in a three-year contract.
The UNHCR will use Accenture’s Biometric Identity Management System (BIMS) for the endeavor. BIMS can be used to collect facial, iris, and fingerprint biometric data, and will also be used to provide many refugees with their only form of official documentation. The system will work in conjunction with Accenture’s Unique Identity Service Platform (UISP) to send this information back to a central database in Geneva, allowing UNHCR offices all over the world to effectively coordinate with the central UNHCR authority in tracking refugees.
Starting with a pilot project in the Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Malawi, the program has blossomed over the last couple of years to provide services in refugee camps in Thailand and Chad, with over 220,000 people identified in the two countries so far. It’s an ambitious project, but Accenture has experience with large-scale biometric system initiatives, having helped the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Biometric Identity Management with a major border control project, for example. This latest endeavor will see the company’s technology used in important humanitarian efforts – and in fact it seems to have already helped hundreds of thousands.
May 19, 2015 – by Alex Perala)