The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has started distributing smart card IDs to refugees in India.
The initiative began in July in New Delhi when the UNHCR started replacing refugees’ laminated certificates with a smart card. The smart card includes a picture ID, and the chip on the card contains encrypted personal information, including biographical data, address and date of registration with the agency.
For many, the cards serve as their only form of identification and can serve as a protection device against possible arrest and harassment. The UNHCR also hopes that switching to the smart card will give the identification more integrity and protect against fraud.
The UNHCR has distributed about 1,500 cards so far to refugees and asylum-seekers ages 12 and up. It hopes to issue 18,000 cards by the end of the year.
India has about 21,000 refugees and asylum-seekers, mainly from Afghanistan, Myanmar and Somalia.
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