UN refugee agency (UNHCR) has praised Pakistan for completing its first ever drive to verify data of around 1.4 million on-the-move Afghan refugees.
According to the UN agency report, issued on Tuesday, Pakistan has successfully completed its first ever smartcard registration of Afghan refugees. The report further noted that this week Pakistan completed its first ever drive to verify data of around 1.4 million on-the-move refugees. Those registered include more than 200,000 children under five.
“UNHCR commends Pakistan for its country-wide campaign to verify and update the data and to issue smart identity cards” to the refugees, the UN report added.
Furthermore, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi completed a three-day visit to Iran, noting that like Pakistan, Iran was also sheltering hundreds of thousands of Afghan refugees.
“Iran has been a generous host of refugees for decades, despite their precarious economic situation made worse by the pandemic,” he said in a statement issued after the visit. “As the situation in Afghanistan remains fragile, we need to ensure those fleeing to Iran can get the protection and assistance they need,” he added.
Pakistan has issued more than 700,000 new smart identity cards so far. The remaining cards will be printed and distributed earlier this year. The cards will be valid until 30 June 2023.
Moreover, all cards contain biometric data that are technologically compatible with systems used in Pakistan for authentication. These new smart identity cards will help refugees faster and safer access to health and education facilities and to banking services.
As per the report, it also points out that the DRIVE program is the part of a wider effort to facilitate and protect Afghan refugees, including through the support platform for the Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees (SSAR).