Mobile registration activities facilitate access to registration for individuals or groups who:
→ are not able to safely access the main registration site due to security issues, check points, protection risk, lack of travel documentation or authorization from local or national authorities;
→ are in detention, hospital or other facility or institution rendering them unable to move;
→ have specific needs or vulnerabilities impeding their capacity to travel;
→ live too far from the registration site, making the journey too expensive, long or otherwise onerous.
Mobile registration is usually necessary for those individuals who are confined to their home, in detention or in hospital. In these contexts, registration staff should ideally be accompanied by protection staff in a multi-functional team. Registration staff who are not accompanied by protection colleagues should be well trained on how to obtain information on specific needs as well as how to spot any protection related concerns which may not be directly expressed by the individual. All such issues should be reported and referred for follow-up with protection staff. It is also important to ensure, to the extent possible, that confidentiality principles are maintained and that the registration interview is private. It is critical to remember that, in many cases, the registration interview may constitute the only contact between a person of concern and UNHCR staff for a long period.
The question of whether or not to conduct larger-scale mobile registration requires careful evaluation in light of the expected protection benefits and the costs involved in terms of impact on other registration activities as well as the financial implications of additional staffing, material and logistical arrangements. Mobile registration is just one of the ways UNHCR can facilitate access to registration. Alternative options should also be considered, including providing transportation (e.g. coach) to and from the main registration site, paying for public transportation or conducting registration through an implementing partner. Some of the key considerations in such an evaluation include, inter alia:
- What are the protection benefits of the activity? Mobile registration is conducted in order to meet challenges related to access. There should be core protection needs that can be addressed by registering the population.
- What are the obstacles to approaching the main registration site? If access is impeded by conflict or climate-related issues, perhaps UNHCR staff are equally unable to travel to the location in question; if distance, cost or authorization- related, UNHCR may be better placed to do the traveling.
- Does UNHCR have the capacity, resources, technology to do mobile registration? What would be the impact on other activities in-house, including the daily registration schedule at the main location? What would be the technological and resource requirements?
- Is there a better alternative? Have the advantages and disadvantages of conducting mobile registration been weighed against the alternatives?
- Is there cooperation from refugees, host community and national authorities? Support, authorization and buy-in from all stakeholders, national authorities, partners and refugees is critical, including ensuring permission to travel, access to detention locations, use of community facilities, etc. Also, for refugees outside of a camp context, ensure they agree with the mobile registration methodology, and that it does not, for example, unduly identify them as refuges and create protection risks for them.
- Is there the required capacity from protection colleagues : how will protection issues identified during mobile registration be followed up and addressed? In an RSD context, the additional population registered by mobile registration exercise will increase the RSD workload. The impact on protection and other functional units should be anticipated and built into the longer term planning in relation to the concerned population.
- What is the continuous registration plan for this population? The next steps after initial mobile registration need to be clearly defined:
- How will continuous registration activities be conducted (add-ons, family composition change, contact information change, death, departures, etc.)? If additional staff are engaged to conduct the initial mobile registration, will regular registration staff have the capacity to assume the continuous registration workload associated with that population?
- Mobile registration exercises that significantly increase the number of people registered per day create an equally significant number of documents which will expire at the same time (potentially requiring a mass renewal exercise), unless the expiry dates are staggered so that renewal activities can be spread out and completed over a period of time.