UNHCR Rolls Out New Card

UNHCR staff demonstrate the biometrics data-gathering process for refugees who are registered with UNHCR in Malaysia. As part of a series of improvements to its card system, UNHCR also uses iris scanning technology in biometrics-gathering.

UNHCR Rolls Out New Enhanced ID Card and Card Verification App

KUALA LUMPUR, 21 June 2016 (UNHCR) - The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) here today launched its new refugee identity card with enhanced security features, and new card verification mobile application.

Improved security features of the card include 3D holograms, bar codes, and a ‘Secure Quick Response’ (SQR) code.

The authenticity of the card can now be verified with any Android of Iphone mobile devices via scanning the SQR code using the specially-designed application called ‘UNHCR VERIFY-MY’. The application can be downloaded for free.

“The new card was produced as part of UNHCR’s continued efforts to combat identity fraud and card counterfeiting,” said Richard Towle, UNHCR Representative in Malaysia. “The mobile application allows law enforcement officials and others engaged in UNHCR’s protection and assistance work to more easily verify the authenticity of the card. 

“These improvements are also supported by state-of-the-art biometric data collection at the UNHCR office, which includes iris and 10-finger scanning.”

 “These efforts are part of an improved modern system implemented by UNHCR that better protects refugees and also addresses the Government’s legitimate concerns around law and order, security, and criminality,” said Towle.

“We hope that this new registration and card system will provide a solid platform on which UNHCR and the Government of Malaysia can build and strengthen their practical cooperation.” he said.

The first recipient of the new card was a refugee woman who had arrived to the UNHCR office that morning for the renewal of her old card. This was witnessed by Malaysian law enforcement officials, several members of the diplomatic community, and media who attended the launch event.

Starting from today, all newly registered refugees will receive the new cards, while existing cardholders will gradually have their cards replaced as their card renewal date comes up.

UNHCR Senior Protection Officer Michael Wells who presented the security features of the new card and demonstrated the use of the mobile application, explained that the new card had improved on the identified weaknesses of the previous ID card.

“The new card is stronger and more robust, and its security features are harder to falsify,” said Michael Wells.

Wells also explained that by downloading the UNHCR VERIFY-MY application and scanning the SQR code on the card, law enforcement officials would be able to view the basic biodata and photograph of the card bearer, and be able to verify the authenticity of the card.

“Once downloaded onto a mobile device, the application updates itself automatically and regularly to ensure the latest data is available at all times to the user,” said Wells.

The UNHCR VERIFY-MY Application can be used online and offline, and contains instructions in both Bahasa Malaysia and English.

There are some 151,560 refugees and asylum-seekers registered with UNHCR in Malaysia as of end May 2016, mostly from Myanmar. The others are from other countries including Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Palestine, and Iran.

The booklet "Introduction to UNHCR VERIFY-MY" is available in English and Bahasa Malaysia

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