The government is set to issue out identity cards to over 20,000 refugees living in the country by mid this year.
This was revealed yesterday by the head of the National Refugee Commission in Rwanda, Innocent Ngango, who said that the activity will begin within 3 or 4 months.
“Right now, we are taking their photographs and collecting necessary data so that we can quickly process their identity cards. It is every refugee’s right to acquire identification and the sooner we complete the procedure the better,” Ngango said.
The official noted that the cards will be electronic just like the national identity cards adding that only refugees above 16-years of age will be eligible.
“Most of the refugees living in the country are from the Democratic Republic of Congo. We believe that these documents will facilitate their freedom of movement within the country and general access to other rights that necessitate identification, for example bank services,” he further explained.
Ngango added that the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) is supporting this cause.
According to the UNHCR, Rwanda is a party to the 1951 Convention Relating to the status of Refugees and its 1967 protocol. Figures from the agency indicate that the cards will cost $104,190 (Rwf59.4 million).
“At the moment, refugees use their ration cards for identification purposes…there is need to agree on mechanisms to ensure that appropriate documentation is given to all refugees and asylum seekers.
“Lack of individual documentation has a clear impact on the refugees’ movement and protection,” a statement from the agency states,” the statement adds.
It is also expected that government’s institutional capacity, in terms of the overall management of refugees and asylum seekers, will be strengthened.