Ethiopia rolls out new biometric system for refugees


The UNHCR has started rolling out a new and enhanced Biometric Identity Management System (BIMS) for refugees in Ethiopia.

Refugees can now attend registration centres to have their biometrics taken, including iris scans and 10-digit fingerprints.

They will also provide information on their educational and professional skills, as well as family members located in other countries.

The UNHCR said the improved data collection system could help to potentially unlock greater opportunities for all refugees, including the right to live outside of the camp or to advance their education. In some instances, the data will be important in reunification of family members abroad.

All refugees in the country including over 100,000 refugees who arrived in 2017 are expected to be registered in BIMS by the end of 2018. Drawing lessons learned from a verification exercise carried out in 2016, the new system will involve a continuous registration process to update data and record details of new arrivals.

The new system will capture a range of data including information related to refugees’ skills, professions and household income.

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