Congo and DRC: identity cards for refugees and asylum seekers
UNHCR staff in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and neighbouring Congo today launched a massive effort to provide identity cards to refugees and asylum seekers in the two countries. The effort - mounted jointly by UNHCR and the two governments - kicks-off today in Kimaza, about 140 km west of Kinshasa, where some 2,000 refugees from Congo will receive identity cards over the next few days.
It is extremely important for refugees and asylum seekers under UNHCR's care to obtain identification cards. Without proper IDs, they run the risk of facing security problems or being exposed to harassment. Getting the cards should help to improve the legal protection of the refugees and asylum seekers. Identity cards are being issued to every refugee and asylum seeker over the age of 14.
Once the registration is completed in Kimaza, DRC, the operation will move to Pointe-Noire in Congo, where ID cards will be distributed in early December, followed by Lubumbashi in the south-east of the DRC.
There are some 440,000 refugees and asylum seekers in the two Congos according to government estimates. Some 330,000 reside in the DRC and the remaining 110,000 live in Congo. Angolans make up the majority of the refugees and asylum seekers in the two countries. The DRC also shelters some 75,000 Sudanese, 22,000 Rwandans and other nationalities. Most of the refugees in the two countries are located in areas bordering on Angola and the Cabinda enclave, while the DRC's substantial Sudanese refugee population mainly resides in the north-east corner of the vast country.