UN agency to issue identity cards for refugees in Congo, DR of Congo
Rupert Colville told the press that the effort - mounted jointly by UNHCR and the governments of the two countries - would kick-off in Kimaza, DRC, about 140 kilometres west of Kinshasa, where some 2,000 refugees from Congo will receive identity cards over the next few days. The cards, which will be issued to every refugee and asylum seeker over the age of 14, will help to improve their legal protection and protect them from security problems.
After the exercise is completed in Kimaza, the operation will move to Pointe-Noire in the Congo, where identity cards will be distributed early December, and Lumumbashi, in the south-eastern part of the DRC.
Quoting government estimates, UNHCR said there are about 440,000 refugees and asylum seekers in the two Congos, most of them in areas bordering Angola and the Cabinda enclave. About 330,000 reside in the DRC while the remaining 110,000 live in Congo, the agency said, adding that the majority of the refugees and asylum seekers are Angolans. The DRC also shelters 75,000 Sudanese, 22,000 Rwandans and other nationalities.