UN and DR Congo distribute identity cards to refugees to improve their rights

21 September 2010

The United Nations refugee agency and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have launched a vast distribution of identity cards to the estimated 173,000 refugees in the country aimed at strengthening the rights of this vulnerable group.

The first 3,300 refugees to receive their ID cards will be in the capital, Kinshasa. Distribution will then be extended to all refugees, most of whom originate from Angola, Rwanda, and Burundi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesperson Adrian Edwards told reporters today in Geneva.

The identity card, equivalent to a resident’s permit, grants holders the same rights as Congolese citizens, with the exception of political rights. The permitted rights include the rights to work, education, access to health care, and freedom of movement within the country.

The cards are valid for two years and are renewable, and are being printed by UNHCR on behalf of the Government.


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