The Debate Surrounding the Use of Biometric Registration by the UNHCR on Refugees
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Over the past two decades, there has been a disturbing rise in the refugee population with over 65 million people displaced from their homes as of 2019. This alarming increase has been due to terrorist activities, civil war and drought which led to people seeking refuge in neighbouring countries or heading to Europe or North America for a better life. This along with the terrorist attack of September 11th, gave rise to the use of biometric technology as a means of population, security and migration control. It is considered by many in the security community as the most accurate means of determining a person’s identity and is the main mechanism used by most NGOs and governments when dealing with refugees, which has given rise to discussions surrounding its impact and efficacy. This thesis explores the debate surrounding the use of Biometric technology on such a vulnerable population and how the collection of such data impacts the lives of these people. To analyze this debate, articles from several academic researchers as well as documentation written by non-governmental organizations will be examined under the framework of documentary research. This study explores the issues surrounding the global refugee crisis and the rising expansion of biometric technology in various facets of the refugee migration process. It attempts to show the impact the collection of biometric data has on refugees and the refugee process as well as display the overall perceptions society has regarding biometrics and refugees. This research finds that although the use of biometric technology is essential to the refugee process, there are several adverse effects with the use of such technology on a vulnerable population.