The United Nations has said the verification process of Rohingyas in Bangladesh will help to find solutions for the roughly 900,000 Rohingyas who have fled Myanmar to Bangladesh.
“Ultimately, it is hoped the exercise will help to find solutions for the Rohingyas,” Deputy Spokesman for the UN Secretary‑General Farhan Haq told reporters in a regular briefing at the UN headquarters on Friday.
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, began verifying Rohingyas in Bangladesh, together with the Government of Bangladesh.
The six‑month process will help to consolidate a unified database for the purposes of protection, identity management, documentation, provision of aid and population statistics, Farhan said.
Most of these people – well over 700,000 – fled since last August in what was one of the largest and fastest growing refugee emergencies in the region in decades.
“Biometric data, including eye scans and fingerprints as well as photographs, are being used to confirm individual identities for all refugees over the age of 12,” he said.
At the end of the process, refugees are provided with new identity cards and for many of the refugees, this will mark the first time they have possessed an individual identity document, he said.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim recently visited Rohingya camps in Bangladesh.
Farhan said the Secretary General, during his Bangladesh visit, touched on a wide range of topics with his interlocutors.
Earlier, UNHCR office in Dhaka said they are working jointly with the government of Bangladesh to conduct a verification exercise for the identity management and documentation of Rohingya refugees who have fled Myanmar.
The verification exercise will help to consolidate a unified database for the purposes of identity management, documentation, protection, provision of assistance, population statistics and solutions, it said.
The credit card-sized plastic ID, containing a number of anti-fraud features, is issued jointly by the Government of Bangladesh and UNHCR and will provide protection and access to assistance in Bangladesh.
“This exercise is a major step forward to establish the legal identity of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar,” said Kevin J Allen, UNHCR Head of Operations in Cox’s Bazar.
“It makes clear that the Rohingya exist, that their rights must be respected and that we are committed to laying the foundations for solutions.”
The exercise will involve around 150 UNHCR and partner staff as well as government officials and community mobilisers.
It will cover all of the refugees previously registered by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA), it said.
“This exercise will help the Government and agencies to better plan our assistance, avoid duplication of services, and ensure that all registered families receive help,” said Mohammad AbulKalam, Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner of Bangladesh.
“It will also contribute to finding solutions,” he added.
The verification will also play a key role in verifying the identity of refugees, establishing that they have been displaced from Myanmar, and enabling them to exercise their right to voluntary return to their country when it is safe for them to do so, said the UNHCR.