Monday, February 4, 2008

UNHCR’s commitment to providing identification for internally displaced people worldwide

The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is taking steps to ensure that all internally displaced persons (IDP) around the world have identification that is recognized by their respective governments. This is an increasingly important issue.

Without identification, IDPs frequently cannot receive the humanitarian aid or government assistance after fleeing their homes. Governments and international organizations cannot determine the number of people needing aid without identification.
Identification is also necessary to ensure government-sponsored education reaches all children. If the government doesn’t know its citizens exist, there is no way for it to provide for them the necessary education, security, and healthcare facilities.

The UNHCR has worked with IDPs for over thirty years but they have recently increased their participation and activity. In Colombia, which has over three million IDPs within the country (the second largest IDP situation after Sudan), the UNHCR has already helped in registering 2.3 million people with the government. With twelve offices located throughout Colombia has already provide 500,000 people with identification cards. These programs have given out identification specifically to those groups which are most vulnerable to exploitation: indigenous and afro-Colombians and women.

Identification can be a matter of life and death in Colombia. The UNHCR’s efforts in Colombia and worldwide are working to make sure that all people can be recognized by their specific governments.

To Learn More:

Visit the UNHCR website:

Read some interesting articles and find out how you can help:

Colombia: Millions Displaced by Conflict Denied Basic Rights

UNHCR seeks $90 million for internal displacement operations