UNHCR Celebrates Biometric Registration of Over a Quarter of Bangladesh’s Rohingya Refugees

“And as the UNHCR has previously outlined, the biometric ID cards themselves can help refugees to access critical services, and can be used for resettlement and potential repatriation.”

UNHCR Celebrates Biometric Registration of Over a Quarter of Bangladesh's Rohingya Refugees

Well over a quarter million Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh have now been registered for biometric ID cards, the United Nations’ refugee agency has announced.

It’s the latest update from the UNHCR highlighting the benefits of biometric registration for refugees. Speaking at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic outlined the benefits of this process, explaining that the collection of refugees’ biometric and biographic data “provides national authorities and humanitarian organizations with a better understanding of the population and their needs,” and that it “will facilitate the planning of programmes and the targeting of assistance to where it is needed most”.

And as the UNHCR has previously outlined, the biometric ID cards themselves can help refugees to access critical services, and can be used for resettlement and potential repatriation. They can also help to thwart identity fraud, and could prove useful in reuniting families in the wake of disruptive storms, with Bangladesh’s monsoon season approaching.

Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh from neighboring Myanmar in large numbers since 2017, when genocidal attacks against the minority population began to ramp up. There are now over 900,000 displaced Rohingya living in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar, and the UNHCR says it has registered over 270,000 of them in its Biometric Identity Management System. About four thousand refugees are registered per day, and the UNHCR’s Mahecic says its staff of 450 people “are working long hours with the goal of completing the process by late 2019.”

May 21, 2019 – by Alex Perala