Sunday, 05 December 2021 02:30 GMT

Building the blocks for refugee identities


(MENAFN- Asia Times)

The United Nations and other humanitarian agencies are increasingly turning to blockchain to try to help refugees. The World Bank estimates that more than a billion people have no way to prove their identity and say the longer a person goes without an identity, the harder it is to re-create or verify one. Blockchain, it is hoped, can help provide such a record.

Projects include a Finnish Immigration Service partnership with Helsinki-based startup MONI, that offers refugees a prepaid Mastercard that links to a blockchain-based digital identity. Similarly, in Moldova the government is working with United Nations digital identification experts to develop ways to use blockchain to provide rural children with identities so as to help protect them from people traffickers .

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The UN World Food Program launched a project in Jordan last year that issues food vouchers to Syrian refugees stationed at the Azraq Refugee Camp. The vouchers link a person to a retina scanning system, that sits on the Ethereum-based Building Blocks blockchain, that allows for both identity verification and access to food handouts. Over time, it is hoped the program will help to build credit histories that the refugees can use after resettlement and it is working so well that the UN is going to expand the project to camps across Jordon.

A public-private initiative called ID2020 has been linking major players from the IT and non-profit sectors – the likes of Microsoft and UNHCR – is developing technology that will help undocumented people secure elements of identity, from children's vaccination cards to voter registration has also started to review blockchain-based opportunities, while in London , UK start-up blockchain.info is also working with the United Nations on ways that this technology can be used in humanitarian and environmental areas.

The partnership was launched last week with the publication of a policy white paper, 'The Future is Decentralised' , that hopes to provide 'a first step in helping policy makers, regulators and UN Member States gain an understanding of blockchain technology."

<> <> <> <> Refugees United Nations World Bank UNHCR Jordan UN World Food Program Azraq Refugee Camp Identity verification retina scanning Building Blocks Ethereum ID2020 blockchain.info The Future is Decentralised Comments

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