The Government of Rwanda and the UN Refugee Agency launch a joint verification exercise of refugees and asylum seekers residing in Rwanda

This will facilitate refugees’ ability to access Government services, employability and to move more freely in the country and abroad.

Kigali, Rwanda – The Government of Rwanda through the Ministry for Disaster Management and Refugees (MIDIMAR), the National Identification Agency (NIDA), and Immigration together with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) have today launched a joint verification exercise of refugees and asylum seekers residing in Rwanda for the purpose of updating information and verifying their physical presence in the country through biometric data. This will positively impact refugees by giving them greater access to identity documents which will facilitate their ability to access Government services, employability and to move more freely in the country and abroad.

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Kigali, Rwanda – urban refugees living in Kigali attend the verification exercise organised by the MIDIMAR and UNHCR ©UNHCR/ Eugene Sibomana

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Kigali, Rwanda – A refugee register his biometric data with UNHCR staff during the verification UNHCR ©UNHCR/ Eugene Sibomana

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Kigali, Rwanda – UNHCR Representative to Rwanda, Mr. Ahmed Baba Fall registers one refugee during his visit to the verification centre at Maison Shalom premises in Kigali. ©UNHCR/ Eugene Sibomana

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Kigali, Rwanda – MIDIMAR Minister, Hon. Jeanne d’Arc Debonheur registers one refugee during his visit to the verification centre at Maison Shalom premises in Kigali. ©UNHCR/ Eugene Sibomana

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Kigali, Rwanda – After the verification, Mr. Fodé Ndiaye, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, issues a proof of registration to a refugee at Maison Shalom premises in Kigali. ©UNHCR/ Eugene Sibomana

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Kigali, Rwanda – After the verification, UNHCR Representative to Rwanda, Ahmed Baba Fall issues a proof of registration to a refugee at Maison Shalom premises in Kigali. ©UNHCR/ Eugene Sibomana

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Kigali, Rwanda – After the verification, MIDIMAR Minister, Hon. Jeanne d’Arc Debonheur issues a proof of registration to a refugee family at Maison Shalom premises in Kigali. ©UNHCR/ Eugene Sibomana

 

Rwanda has committed in last year’s Leaders’ Summit on Refugees convened by then US President Obama to integrate refugees in the Government health insurance (urban refugees), education, documentation services and promotion of inclusion of refugees through the joint Rwanda- UNHCR livelihoods strategy. By sharing of refugee data, the Government and UNHCR can plan properly for this integration.

Registration of refugees and asylum-seekers in Rwanda is a joint activity between the Government and UNHCR. Both parties adjudicate registration cases, make joint decisions on eligibility for registration and collect individualized basic biodata together. Updated information and documentation will allow for better protection and assistance to refugees and asylum-seekers in Rwanda, but also will contribute to better planning by the Government, UNHCR and relevant stakeholders dealing with refugees.

In May of 2017, the Government of Rwanda and UNHCR signed an agreement governing sharing of data on identity of refugees in Rwanda, which has set the stage for the joint verification exercise in Rwanda. The verification exercise is scheduled to start with urban refugees in Kigali and Huye before moving to the six refugee camps. UNHCR welcomes this progressive move by the Government which will lead to better refugee management, protection and assistance.