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Refugee Biometric Verification Kicks Off At Oruchinga :: Uganda Radionetwork

Refugee Biometric Verification Kicks Off At Oruchinga

The exercise which kicked off on Thursday comes as part of the stopgaps into alleged corruption in refugees management in Uganda.
02 Mar 2018 18:16
UNHCR Staff at OruchingaRefugee Camp. It is hoped that the biometric registration will curb corruption in refugee management in Uganda
The government and UN High Commission For Refugees (UNHCR) have begun biometric registration of all refugees in the country.  

The exercise comes as part of the stopgaps into alleged corruption in refugee's management in Uganda. It comes barely a month after reports indicated that officials at the Office of the Prime Minister inflated refugee figures in order to claim more funds for the response.   

UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch says the agency is supporting the Government of Uganda with its launch of a countrywide biometric data verification to fix any discrepancies in refugee data.

The exercise was launched on Thursday at Oruchinga refugee settlement in Uganda's South-West region. The refugee camp is mainly holding refugees from DRC fleeing from the insurgency in the Eastern part of the country.

There are plans to roll out the registration exercise across the country to over 30 locations. UNHCR says 400 additional staff will be deployed for the exercise. The data verification exercise is scheduled to be completed by September 2018 - including the introduction of biometric checks at 180 food distribution sites.

Babar Baloch says  UNHCR is providing necessary technical equipment and has also made available its biometric registration software, which has already been used to register some 4.4 million refugees in 48 countries across the globe.

Uganda provides protection to more than one million refugees and maintains an open-door policy for people fleeing conflict and persecution. Uganda's policy framework is considered to be one of the most progressive in the world, providing refugees with plots of land, integrated with local host communities, on which to build new homes and to grow crops.

Refugees in Uganda share public services, including healthcare and education, with Ugandan nationals, who have consistently welcomed refugees with generosity and hospitality. Refugees are also given the right to work and start businesses, as well as freedom of movement. 

This has helped the refugee population in Uganda to spread throughout various refugee settlements and urban areas throughout the country, adding to the logistical complexity of the verification exercise. 

The verification exercise according to UNHCR will ensure that refugees and asylum-seekers are accurately reflected in the registration system and assist the Government of Uganda to enhance the accuracy of data. 

Baloch says that will make certain that resources and services provided by UNHCR and its partners reach the intended recipients.

Uganda has seen the size of its refugee population rapidly increasing in recent years as it continues to welcome new arrivals from three ongoing emergencies in South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi. 

Already in the first two months of 2018, the country has become home to more than 50,000 new arrivals, predominantly fleeing violence in eastern DRC arriving on boats through Lake Albert.

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