Refugee Crisis

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Refugee Crisis

Joined: 06 Nov 2006, 17:39

12 Sep 2015, 07:36 #1

German defence minister exploits refugee crisis to strengthen military
By Wolfgang Weber
1 September 2015

German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen is using the refugee crisis to prepare a major deployment of the army within Germany. The armed forces will participate in the accommodation of refugees nationwide. Barracks are being revamped into refugee camps and soldiers brought in to carry out tasks normally assigned to civil authorities, such as registering refugees.

In this way, the refugees, who have virtually no rights, are being placed under the control of the German army. The strict ban on the deployment of the German army domestically, as well as the clear separation between civilian authorities and the security apparatus, have been anchored in law since 1949 due to the experiences of the Kaiserreich and the Nazis. These are now being eliminated. Once again the public will have to get used to the army playing a major role in the life of German society, just as the Reichswehr did in the past.

The elevation of the army to a leading role in social life is a declared goal of government policy. President Joachim Gauck called in 2012 for a stronger engagement for the army in society. “Generals, officers, army soldiers, back to the heart of our society!” he proclaimed to his audience.
Refugee “assistance”

According to its official web site, the German army has created places for 9,000 refugees in 18 barracks distributed across the country. Over 6,000 people have been accommodated in barracks or in buildings not being used by the army. Three thousand have been housed in other facilities not being used by the army, such as training camps. In addition, the army has put up over 140 tents in Hamburg, Halberstadt (Saxony-Anhalt) and Doberlug-Kirchheim (Brandenburg) for more than 1,200 refugees.

Defence Minister Von der Leyen justified this deployment of the German army after a visit to a barracks in Sonthofen, Bavaria, where refugees have been accommodated since last autumn. “We are assisting the refugees with all means at our disposal.” That is a transparent attempt to rehabilitate the image of the troops, which suffered due to the war in Afghanistan and other countries, and prepare for future military interventions abroad.

In reality, the German government and its NATO allies, with their military interventions in the Balkans, Afghanistan, the Middle East and North Africa, have created the horrific conditions that have provoked the flood of refugees to Europe.

In a German army propaganda video of soldiers putting up tents in Doberlug-Kirchheim, the commanding officer of Special Infantry Battalion 164, Björn Panzer, bluntly referred to that context: “It is absolutely clear to the soldiers here, the majority of whom are veterans of operations, what they are doing, they know the conditions in the countries where they intervened…”

The banning of army deployments domestically has long been under attack. It began in 1968 with the adoption of emergency powers and has continued more recently following rulings by the German Constitutional Court.

The German army is going one step further with the current deployment. Until now, the deployment of the army domestically was always strictly limited both in terms of location and length of time, and justified by natural disasters, such as the flooding of the Elbe River in 2002 or the need to “combat terrorism” during the G8 summit in Heiligendamm. Since there is obviously no case of “defence” or “natural catastrophe” in the present circumstances, high-ranking politicians are raising the possibility of reforming Germany’s Basic Law.

“We need a new debate in Germany about whether we should deploy the army more forcefully domestically,” said the interior minister for Saxony-Anhalt, Holger Stahlknecht (Christian Democrats) at the end of July. The strict restrictions in the Basic Law were no longer appropriate to the times, he said. It was necessary to “consider reforming the Basic Law,” urged Stahlknecht, a Lieutenant Colonel in the reserves.

Taking control of official responsibilities

Perhaps even more significant than the deployment to house refugees is the assumption of police and other official tasks by German army soldiers. These tasks would otherwise only be conducted by authorities at the state and federal level.

In this way, the practical collaboration between civil authorities and the army is being tested. The expansion of the military infrastructure necessary for this, and the close integration of the army into every level of government, is the second key plank of the German army reform begun in 2010—the other being foreign military interventions.

Soldiers from the signals division have thus been placed under the command of the European Union military operation “European Union Naval Force in Mediterranean” (EUNAVFORMED), which also includes the German navy. There they have the task of creating extensive profiles of the refugees rescued from the Mediterranean. This includes their route, country of origin, profession, relatives and helpers. The army is being supported in this by a “military signals unit” of the foreign intelligence service (BND).

The gathered data will help prepare military interventions in North African countries such as Libya, Tunisia and Morocco, which will be conducted under the pretext of disrupting refugee routes, boats and people smugglers. But it can also be used for the processing of asylum applications in Germany, against the refugees themselves.

This work, for which only officials of the federal office of migration and refugees (BAMF) are responsible, is now also being carried out by soldiers “in connection with assistance for official tasks”. Since May, up to 150 soldiers have been assisting BAMF “with the processing of asylum seeker applications,” as the official German army web site states.

This is to be further expanded. On Thursday, Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière (CDU) announced that he wanted to recruit up to 700 workers for BAMF for a short time and using unconventional means, including members of the army, “to accelerate asylum applications.”

Civilian and military collaboration

The integration of civilian and military structures has advanced considerably over recent years. A German army pamphlet in 2013 titled “New orientation: civilian-military cooperation by the German army,” gives some impression of the preparations for “wide-ranging territorial tasks” to be taken on domestically under the guise of “defence of the homeland” and “protection from catastrophes.”

The pamphlet makes clear the scale of these structures since the creation of a “territorial network” in 2006. Under the “armed forces command in Bonn”, “15 state commanders (work) from the seat of each state government.” Within the department “regional tasks Berlin,” 31 district commanders and 404 local commanders operate, each with between 10 and 12 positions. These are occupied by specially selected, militarily experienced and politically “absolutely reliable” soldiers.

Thus, for this “defence of the homeland”, over 4,000 reservists are involved, including over 3,000 reserve officers, concealed from the public and without even a veneer of democracy. They must live within the district in which they serve and be “rooted in their community.”

According to the army pamphlet, their tasks include “advising civilian disaster protection/crisis and administration offices about the possibilities and limits of support from the German army,” “participation in meetings about the current situation as well as future plans in operation,” and “supporting and accepting requests for assistance from civilian authorities to the army as well as forwarding them to the relevant state commander.”

The armed forces integrated into this network are not only to “advise” and “support” civilian authorities, but will also organise their own deployments. “The command of territorial operations for the German army in Berlin” is “the nerve centre of the of the new territorial network.” It is “responsible for the tactical coordination of army deployments domestically.”

The pamphlet goes on to state, “On the basis of the civilian requirements for assistance, the territorial command centre (KdoTerrAufgBw) can alarm service units and troops, and bring together ad hoc an appropriate force of the German army to provide support.”

The types of “threats” to be tackled can currently be seen in Hungary, where there are discussions about deploying the army to repel the stream of refugees behind the newly-constructed border fence. By September, six “border hunter” units of 2,100 men are to be ready for deployment. There would “be no order to shoot in dealing with refugees,” said the regional police commander responsible, indicating what had already been discussed behind closed doors.

To sum up, the “civilian-military cooperation” is nothing more than the modern form of German militarism, “a system,” the military historian Wolfram Wette wrote, “which integrates state, economic, ideological and social sectors, making military interests operational.”

A century ago Karl Liebknecht, the revolutionary and indefatigable opponent of war, denounced the same process as a “system of submerging our entire public and private life under the spirit of militarism.” (“Militarism and Anti-militarism,” 1907)

At that time, under the Kaiser, this system prepared the way for and assisted in the waging of the First World War. In the early years of the Weimar Republic, it enabled Germany to suppress the revolutionary struggles of the working class, which overthrew the Kaiser and brought an end to World War I. Later, it played an important role in the establishment of the fascist Nazi dictatorship.

The deployment of the German army to “assist refugees” is “for now” presented in humanitarian terms. But the dangers lurking in the background are the same. They must, especially in Germany, be taken seriously by the working population.

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"No one understood better than Stalin that the true object of propaganda is neither to convince nor even to persuade, but to produce a uniform pattern of public utterance in which the first trace of unorthodox thought immediately reveals itself as a jarring dissonance." Leonard Schapiro

Joined: 06 Nov 2006, 17:39

23 Sep 2015, 18:33 #2

Australia to capture biometrics at the border under new law
Criminals getting in without Australia knowing about their convictions

19 Aug 2015 at 00:22, Simon Sharwood

Australia's Parliament has passed a law that will make it possible to collect biometric data, from citizens and visitors alike, at the nation's borders.

The Migration Amendment (Strengthening Biometrics Integrity) Bill 2015, an amendment to the Migration Act of 1958, is explained as an effort to “streamline seven existing personal identifier collection powers into a broad, discretionary power to collect one or more personal identifiers from non-citizens, and citizens at the border.”

Other justifications for the Bill are put forth in the explanatory memorandum, as follows:

Checks of personal identifiers against existing immigration data holdings, and the data holdings of Australian law enforcement agencies and Five Country Conference partner countries have revealed undisclosed adverse immigration and criminal history information of non-citizens, and discrepancies in the biographic information provided by non-citizens.
The progressive expansion of the department’s biometric programme has resulted in some non-citizens providing personal identifiers, but not others, depending on the timing of their visa application or arrival in Australia. As a result, higher integrity biometric-based identity, security, law enforcement and immigration history checks have been conducted on only some non-citizens.

Recent border and terrorism-related events in Australia and worldwide illustrate the need for measures to strengthen community protection outcomes. In addition, as the department reduces the degree of physical contact with applicants for visas, it is increasingly important that identity and other checks are conducted against biometric data holdings to detect individuals of concern. In particular, the capability to conduct identity checks against existing data holdings will further contribute to the protection of children who have been, or who are at risk of being, trafficked.

The Bill itself doesn't specify what biometric data will be captured at the border, but the explanatory memorandum mentions “facial image, fingerprints and iris” and includes provisions to ensure biometrics are captured in a process that is not “cruel, inhuman or degrading” and takes place “with humanity and with respect for human dignity.”

A new power in the bill will make it possible to collect biometric data “from minors and incapable persons... without the need to obtain the consent, or require the presence of, a parent, guardian or independent person during the collection of personal identifiers.”

The law's being sold as a security measure and, as such, will go down well with much of the Australian community because immigration – especially of refugees – is a hot political issue. A measure that makes it easier to detect criminals entering Australia is therefore likely to be popular with a majority of voters.

Australia is far from alone in capturing biometric data at the border: your correspondent has been fingerprinted in Taiwan and the USA in the last year alone. ®

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Five Eyes:

The Five Country Conference (FCC) is a consortium of government immigration agencies from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom and the United States of America.

FCC cooperation enables voluntary, collaborative projects between member countries. By working together, the FCC aims to enhance the integrity, security and efficiency of immigration and border services and to improve client service across all five countries.

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Five Country Conference
The Five Country Conference (FCC) is a forum consisting of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Over the past five years the FCC has evolved into an action-oriented group which advances specific immigration-related initiatives delivering concrete outcomes that benefit all five members. Jointly managed projects are created, monitored, and managed across international boundaries.

The FCC consists of four Working Groups and three Networks:
Data Sharing WG
Immigration & Refugee Health WG

Integrity 7 Overseas Liaison WG
Client Service Integration WG
Resettlement Network
Returns and Repatriation Network
Training & Change Network

FCC members hold a plenary meeting annually. The purposes of plenary meetings are for Heads of Delegation to set the strategic direction for FCC working group activities, review progress of work underway, and weigh the benefits of additional projects brought forward for the conference’s approval.

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"No one understood better than Stalin that the true object of propaganda is neither to convince nor even to persuade, but to produce a uniform pattern of public utterance in which the first trace of unorthodox thought immediately reveals itself as a jarring dissonance." Leonard Schapiro

Joined: 06 Nov 2006, 17:39

23 Sep 2015, 18:39 #3

Australian Immigration Officials Start Screening Syrian And Iraqi Refugees
By Madhav Mohan on September 23 2015 4:25 AM EDT

Australian immigration officials have started interviewing 12,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees, who are looking to restart their lives in Australia.

Australian authorities are doubling immigration staff in the Middle East to cope with the enormous task of screening the refugees, ABC News reported. Most of the screening process will reportedly take place in Lebanon and Jordan. Overwhelming numbers of Syrians began pouring into neighboring Lebanon and Jordan after the civil war began in 2011, according to the Washington Post.

On Sept. 9, former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced that the country would take in 12,000 refugees. Australian immigration officials said that religious persecution could be cited as grounds for immigration in addition to the refugees being absorbed on the basis of the amount of suffering they have had to endure in the war torn countries, according to ABC news. The refugees should hold no criminal record and will have to pass through security checks to gain asylum. The first batch of refugees is reportedly expected to enter Australia in the next two months.

“The interviews have begun, and only those in need of help would be considered. All 12,000 refugees have to be registered with the UNHCR. We are working closely with the UN refugee agency to pinpoint those affected by war.” Regional Director for the Australian Immigration Department John Moorhouse, who was speaking from Dubai, said, according to ABC news. He added that refugees with families in Australia, and those who have applied under the Special Humanitarian Program would also be considered for immigration.

Australians have been pushing the government to do more for the refugees. The country is now preparing for the influx of refugees by arranging accommodation and extra services, according to a BBC News report. The Australian government has reportedly issued “A life in Australia” booklet to help refugees cope with their new environment. The booklet contains mostly facts and figures, and descriptions of Australian symbols.

While the Australians have made a generous offer to refugees stranded in Lebanon and Jordan, a
report said that former Prime Minister Tony Abbott had confirmed that he would not help Syrians who came to Australia by boat, and who are now either detained offshore in the Manus Island and Nauru or on the Australian mainland. The detained refugees have reportedly pleaded with the Australian government to include them as persecuted refugees.

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"No one understood better than Stalin that the true object of propaganda is neither to convince nor even to persuade, but to produce a uniform pattern of public utterance in which the first trace of unorthodox thought immediately reveals itself as a jarring dissonance." Leonard Schapiro

Joined: 06 Nov 2006, 17:39

23 Sep 2015, 18:54 #4

UNHCR pilots new biometrics system in Malawi refugee camp
Making a Difference, 22 January 2014

DZALEKA, Malawi, January 22 (UNHCR) – The UN refugee agency has completed initial testing of a new biometrics system that should help it better register and protect people, verify their identity and target assistance for the forcibly displaced in operations around the world.

The identification management tool, which is being developed by UNHCR with a private sector company, was tested here at Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Malawi last month. It stores fingerprints, iris data and photographs for facial recognition and will include an emergency feature to aid in fixing populations in advance of full registration. For refugees without ID, this becomes a vital record.

UNHCR experts are currently reviewing the results of the pilot exercise and making recommendations for improvements, with the aim being to produce a biometrics system for the refugee agency that is fast, intuitive, secure, durable and easy to use in varied and challenging environments across the world. It should be ready for rollout to the field in the second half of this year.

"The experience in Malawi will inform our decision on further development and roll-out of the new biometrics tool in our operations around the world," said Steven Corliss, director of UNHCR's division of programme support and management.

"Improving the accuracy of registration data is a priority for UNHCR in our efforts to make a positive impact in the lives of the people we serve. It is also of significant importance to host governments," he added.

When rolled out, the integrated biometric solution will support all standard registration activities, playing a leading part in the implementation of the policy on biometrics in refugee registration and verification, issued by the agency in 2010.

Over the month-long exercise in Dzaleka, the nearly 17,000 refugees reported to UNHCR staff in the camp's registration centre to have their individual data verified and to enrol their biometric data, scanning their fingerprints, face and iris images into the new system.

"It has always been a challenge for the government to establish who is who in the camp; this is one way of solving the situation," said a Malawi government official.

The team gathered by UNHCR in Dzaleka faced significant logistical and technical challenges in maintaining power and online connectivity, as well as the operation and maintenance of state-of-the-art equipment for recording biometric data.

An information campaign explaining the exercise to the refugees was crucial to its success. "The biggest challenge was to convince refugees to enrol, when they were not sure about the overall purpose of the exercise, but once we explained to them, they embraced it and showed up in droves," said Kelvin Sentala, UNHCR assistant field officer in Malawi.

Refugees questioned by UNHCR said they were happy because now there was a permanent record of their identity. Many refugees lose their documents during flight and this can cause them problems later and restrict access to aid and protection. "I can be someone now. I am registered globally with the UN and you'll always know who I am," said 43-year-old Congolese refugee Olivier Mzaliwa, echoing the thoughts of other refugees.

Malawi currently hosts some 17,000 refugees and asylum-seekers, mainly from the Great Lakes region and eastern Africa.

By Tina Ghelli in Dzaleka Refugee Camp, Malawi

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"No one understood better than Stalin that the true object of propaganda is neither to convince nor even to persuade, but to produce a uniform pattern of public utterance in which the first trace of unorthodox thought immediately reveals itself as a jarring dissonance." Leonard Schapiro

Joined: 06 Nov 2006, 17:39

23 Sep 2015, 19:01 #5

UNHCR's new biometrics system helps verify 110,000 Myanmar refugees in Thailand.
News Stories, 30 June 2015

THAM HIN CAMP, Thailand, June 30 (UNHCR) – The UN refugee agency has completed its roll-out of a cutting-edge system to identify Myanmar refugees in Thailand's nine border camps.

Between January and May this year, UNHCR and the Royal Thai Government verified and updated the records of nearly 110,000 registered and unregistered refugees from Myanmar with the help of UNHCR's new biometrics identity management system (BIMS).

Thailand was chosen as the first site of the global roll-out, complementing plans to verify the bio-data of the camp population. Regular registration in the camps had been suspended 10 years ago, and the need to have updated information on family composition, births, deaths and marriages was growing increasingly urgent.

"The situation in Myanmar is changing and refugees are finding their own solutions outside the camps," said Mireille Girard, UNHCR's Representative in Thailand, noting that small numbers have started to return home on their own. "By understanding their family and individual situation in the camps – including those of the most vulnerable refugees – we can further improve our assessment of their situation before and after any movements. This will also enable us to target assistance and monitor more accurately."

Implemented jointly with Ministry of Interior officials and supported by UNHCR's NGO partners, the exercise involved close scrutiny of existing documents and physical verification of entire households. Refugee leaders in each camp helped to mobilize the population and encourage them to participate. The result is the most comprehensive protection and statistical review of this refugee population in 10 years.

Using BIMS meant that for the first time in UNHCR's history, each refugee's fingerprints and iris scan were collected and securely stored in UNHCR's online database, retrievable from anywhere in the world.

"Biometrics will help refugees in the future as it ensures that once they've been through the system and enrolled with their fingerprints and irises, we'll always know who they are," said Sam Jefferies, UNHCR's Associate Biometrics Deployment Officer in Geneva. "If they lose their documentation, they can always come back to us."

Bringing staff and technology to some of Thailand's most remote areas proved to be a logistical challenge. It involved transporting satellite equipment to camps with no phone or internet access, and moving delicate gear and over 75 UNHCR staff across rivers and over hundreds of kilometres of winding mountain roads along the Thai-Myanmar border in the span of 13 weeks.

At the end of the verification exercise in Thailand, the refugees each received a smart card with their family's bio-data and photographs – securely encrypted and retrievable with UNHCR card readers even in remote places with no internet access.

"With these cards we don't need to travel around with heavy equipment like a server," said UNHCR Representative Girard. "In the event of voluntary return, our teams in Myanmar will have a card reader in their backpack when they visit the field to document what has happened to returnees, and if they have received reintegration assistance. We will also pass on that information to other humanitarian actors and the authorities on the ground so that they can plan and deliver services in places where they are needed."

John Smith, a refugee who works for the Karen Refugee Committee in Tham Hin camp in Ratchaburi province, said, "This verification is very important for me and for others who are refugees. The card can be decisive for our life in the future. If we have a chance to go back [to Myanmar], it will be good evidence for us to show to UNHCR or the Thai government. I tell the others to keep their smart card in a safe place, with their most precious things."

By Vivian Tan, In Tham Hin camp, Thailand

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"No one understood better than Stalin that the true object of propaganda is neither to convince nor even to persuade, but to produce a uniform pattern of public utterance in which the first trace of unorthodox thought immediately reveals itself as a jarring dissonance." Leonard Schapiro

Joined: 06 Nov 2006, 17:39

23 Sep 2015, 19:24 #6

Fingerprints mark new direction in refugee registration
News Stories, 30 November 2006

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, November 30 (UNHCR) – At the registration area of the UN refugee agency in Kuala Lumpur, Nang Piang, a refugee from Myanmar, placed his finger tentatively on the biometrics scanner. Within seconds, his fingerprint flashed on the computer screen. He appeared slightly puzzled by the new technology, but unperturbed.

"I don't know what it is for, but I do what UNHCR wants me to do," he said with a shrug. His biometrics data was recorded in his electronic file, and he left the room. It was apparent that the new biometrics registration system meant very little to Nang Piang, merely another administrative hoop to jump through.

But to UNHCR, this was a historical moment. Malaysia on Monday became the first country in Asia to launch UNHCR's new biometric registration system, which efficiently marries fingerprinting identification with UNHCR's refugee database system, called ProGres.

Biometrics is a unique, measurable characteristic or trait of a human being – in this case a fingerprint – for automatically recognising or verifying identity.

"This is an important step for UNHCR Malaysia as we strengthen the security of our registration system to prevent fraud," said Volker Türk, head of UNHCR in Malaysia. "Each fingerprint is unique, no two are alike. By referring to this unique human feature, we can determine if a person is already enrolled in our system, and verify if an identity claim is true."

"For instance," he added, "if a rejected asylum seeker tries to reapply for refugee status, the system will automatically discover this. The system will also discover if a person is fraudulently claiming to be someone she, or he, is not. Such a security measure will certainly enhance the credibility of UNHCR's registration system in the eyes of the Malaysian government and other partners."

Ephraim Tan, UNHCR's information technology manager, explained that the new system scanned 1,000 fingerprints a second to verify identity or to catch duplications. Previously, this would have to be found through a time-consuming individual search of biographical data.

"It used to be that double registrations would be discovered by chance when a staff member deliberately conducted such a search," said Tan. "Now, the system will be programmed to conduct such searches at the end of the working day."

Tan hastened to add that double registrations were often the result of human error and not malicious intent: "Sometimes people have been registered at another location and, not understanding the procedure, register again at our office."

At the same time, though, the biometrics scan acts as a deterrent against fraud. "Knowing that their identity will be verified with a fingerprint scan when they approach UNHCR will deter anyone from stealing the identity of a refugee," Tan said.

Tan explained that for now, only those newly registered with UNHCR would have their fingerprints recorded. Soon, however, UNHCR will begin to capture the fingerprints of all 49,000 refugees and asylum seekers already in the system in Malaysia.

"It will be slow and tedious, but well worth it when all those registered with us can be identified by their unique fingerprints instead of just a photograph," said Tan.

The launch of biometrics in Malaysia follows successful implementation in Kenya and Tanzania. The Kenya operation has used this technology to detect cases of attempted multiple registrations under different identities. UNHCR expects six to eight countries to implement the biometrics technology this year, taking the agency a step closer towards developing a more standardised worldwide registration system.

Back in Kuala Lumpur, at the end of a long day of troubleshooting the new technology, Tan helped a young refugee woman from Myanmar with her fingerprint scan.

As he explained the use of the scanner to capture a characteristic that was uniquely hers, the woman's face broke into a smile as she nodded in agreement. "Now no one can come to UNHCR and pretend to be me," she said.

By Yante Ismail in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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UNHCR: proGres Refugee Registration Platform

In 1999, as the Kosovo refugee crisis unfolded, a group of Microsoft employees joined together and contacted the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to volunteer their time and technical knowledge.

Together, UNHCR, Microsoft employees and other partners developed a mobile registration system to provide more than half a million refugees with new identification documents. This system evolved into the proGres database, which today has been implemented globally to help those displaced by war, insecurity and natural disasters.

proGres is a standardized system for refugee registration, replacing dozens of old, incompatible databases. Through proGres, refugees are registered systematically upon arrival, improving camp management by accurately determining the size and composition of refugee populations, and helping with assistance needs.

The database is used for the administration of the refugee status determination process. To grant refugee status, in most cases, host countries require an initial eligibility interview and application, follow up interview, committee review and final government approval - all of which are tracked via proGres. Once status has been granted and refugees are in the system, proGres has the capacity to issue identification cards, record addresses for refugees living outside of camps, issue voluntary repatriation forms and identify individuals with special needs like unaccompanied minors or the elderly.

proGres currently operates in more than 300 camps and 75 countries, including 32 in Africa, and has provided assistance to nearly 5 million refugees. proGres has also helped many countries to be able to produce more detailed data on their refugees, aiding UNHCR in its mandate to tracking and report refugee situations globally.

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Accenture & UN refugee body create biometric identity

15 July 2015

Accenture, after a successful bid in a competitive tendering process, will be providing the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees with on-going system maintenance and user training for a Biometric Identity Management System. The system was partly developed by Accenture, and aims to give some of the world’s 50 million refugees with stable – cross country – identities.

With increased global tension and widening conflict areas in Syria and Iraq, and with continued instability in sub-Saharan Africa – the plight of the world’s more than 50 million refugees continues. While two thirds of the refugees are displaced in their countries of origins, around 16 million people have fled their roots to find safe harbour. With the spectre of climate change, bringing with it the potential of traditional habitat destruction, food and water shortages and geo-political conflict, the biggest forced movement of people since world war two may not find rest and safety soon.

One issue faced by both the refugees and authorities needing to make judgements about the statues of the person before them, is that identification papers may be left behind whilst fleeing, may be lost along the way or may be confiscated by other authorities. Without identification, long term engagement with a refugee becomes considerably more difficult – especially if they are forced to keep on the move.

To deal with the issue of identification, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) implemented a pilot project in 2013 that saw a Biometric Identity Management System deployed at the Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Malawi. The system allowed the agency to register 17,000 people with their biometric data, which includes the capture and storage of fingerprints, iris data and facial images of individuals, providing those who are often undocumented with their own personal identity record. After dealing with considerable logistical and infrastructure difficulties, the pilot project was proven to be successful.

The three year contract between UNHCR and Accenture will see UNHCR deploy the Biometric Identity Management System (BIMS) across UNHCR global operations. UNHCR has already started its deployment of the BIMS across its scaled up operations with refugee camp locations in Thailand and Chad where around 220,000 have already been enrolled. With plans to expand the use of BIMS further into Chad to enable the enrolment and formal identification of 450,000 people resident in more than 19 refugee camps.

As part of the BIMS system, Accenture developed Unique Identity Service Platform (UISP), which works in conjunction with the UNHCR’s existing case management system, linking UNHCR offices and camps around the world back to a central biometric database in Geneva.

Ger Daly, Managing Director of Accenture’s Global Public Safety Business, says: “This is a great example of how we use digital innovation to improve peoples’ lives and make a real difference in the world.  By applying emerging technologies in biometrics capture and large-scale identity matching, BIMS will help UNHCR register and identify refugees and channel the delivery of aid to those people most in need.”

“After reviewing the results of the trial in Malawi and making recommendations for improvements, we are moving forward and deploying a single global biometrics system for the agency that is fast, intuitive, secure, mobile and durable in varied and challenging environments,” adds Doug Greene, UNHCR’s Chief Information Officer.

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Sir Mark Moody-Stuart (born September 15, 1940, Antigua) is chairman of Anglo American plc, an ex-chairman of Royal Dutch Shell, and a director of HSBC Holdings and of Accenture. He is a member of the UN Secretary General's Advisory Council for the Global Compact.

Moody-Stuart became a Managing Director of the Shell Transport and Trading Company, p.l.c. in 1991 and was Chairman from 1998-2001. He was succeeded by Sir Philip Watts.

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UN Global Compact In Syria[edit]
The Syria initiative aims at enhancing civic engagement and corporate social responsibility of private sector by promoting the ten principles of the UN Global Compact as well as forging partnerships between private sector organizations, public sector institutions and civil society. This initiative is a partnership between the Syrian Government represented by the State Planning Commission and the UNDP Country Office in Syria. It was launched under the patronage of the Head of State Planning Commission and in the presence of the Deputy Chairperson of the UN Global Compact in July 2008.

The Syria Local Network has 26 businesses, 5 NGOs, and 5 federations of commerce and industry. It was displayed among 10 selected ones from around the world in the Global Compact Sixth Annual Local Networks Forum. The Syria story was called a “leadership case” and the Syria Network growth ratio was ranked first among the global top ten in 2008. available at[17]

The UNGC National Advisory Council has been formulated and held its founders’ meeting on October 15, 2008, with the participation of leaders from the Syrian private sector, international corporate representatives, local and international civil society organizations, UNDP, the Syrian Government, media and education sectors.


Many civil society organizations believe that without any effective monitoring and enforcement provisions, the Global Compact fails to hold corporations accountable.[18] Moreover, these organizations argue that companies can misuse the Global Compact as a public relations instrument for "bluewash",[19] as an excuse and argument to oppose any binding international regulation on corporate accountability, and as an entry door to increase corporate influence on the policy discourse and the development strategies of the United Nations.[20]

Global Compact Critics[edit]

An informal network of organizations and people with concerns about the UN Global Compact, called Global Compact Critics, levels a variety of criticisms at the Global Compact:

The compact contains no mechanisms to sanction member companies for non-compliance with the Compact's principles;
A corporation's continued participation is not dependent on demonstrated progress;
The Global Compact has admitted companies with dubious humanitarian and environmental records in contrast with the principles demanded by the Compact.

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"No one understood better than Stalin that the true object of propaganda is neither to convince nor even to persuade, but to produce a uniform pattern of public utterance in which the first trace of unorthodox thought immediately reveals itself as a jarring dissonance." Leonard Schapiro