Forced displacement in Afghanistan is a multi-faceted situation within the country’s 40 years of protracted conflict. Furthermore, thousands of people are impacted by natural disasters, including earthquakes. This complex situation has led to an increased number of people becoming displaced both within the country and into neighboring countries. At end of November 2023, there are 7.7 million Afghans in Iran and Pakistan, including registered Afghan refugees and Afghans in refugee-like situations . At the same time, and despite the difficult situation, people still repatriate to their country of origin.
The mandate of UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is to protect and find solutions for forcibly displaced people. In the Republic of Congo, UNHCR supports the government in registering refugees – some of whom have lived in the country for several decades – as well as asylum-seekers who have arrived more recently. From time to time, a UNHCR country operation verifies all data currently held about the forcibly displaced population of a country and thus carries out a so called ‘verification exercise’
When UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, began collecting biometrics in 2002, it was for one local and very specific use case: To facilitate fair and single-time cash grants, irises of Afghan refugees in Pakistan were collected.
Alongside many developments in biometrics over the past two decades, UNHCR explored and implemented different biometric tools in different regions and for different purposes. Since the beginning, biometrics brought direct benefits to refugees, UNHCR, and partners alike, and are now considered an integral component of registration data in over 90 UNHCR country operations globally.