Documenting Dispossession: UNRWA Launches New Refugee Registration Information System

09 December 2009

9 December 2009

Jerusalem

Refugee Registration

UNRWA has launched its new Refugee Registration Information System (RRIS). The digital centralised system has been developed as part of ongoing reform measures and will greatly enhance the quality and efficiency of refugee services delivered by the Agency.

UNRWA has digitally scanned and preserved 17.56 million historical documents in its stewardship, offering a comprehensive archive of individual refugee and family experiences. These refugee records, many of which date back to pre-1948 Mandate Palestine, are a crucial historical resource and their preservation within the RRIS is a step in the protection of refugee rights.

The system, the most complex IT system developed by UNRWA in its 60 years of operation, will track 4.7 million refugees registered with UNRWA in its five fields of operations. The RRIS will enhance the data collection and planning capabilities of the Agency. More accurate and detailed data, including addresses and phone numbers, will allow the Agency to identify and respond to beneficiary needs more effectively.

Other concrete benefits of the system include the reduction in the time taken to update registration cards from the current three months to one day. Moreover, registration numbers will be issued to all refugees, allowing to be registered as individuals in addition to their family registration. The individualized capabilities of the system offers potential to better understand changing dynamics within refugee communities.

Another benefit of the RRIS is the inclusion of a special module for all socio-economic and administrative data that will help UNRWA to more effectively target the delivery of its social safety-net programme, which supports the poorest of the poor. In future the RRIS will also include data on refugee health, education and microfinance.  UNRWA would like to thank its donors the Ruler of Sharjah, the EC and the governments of Saudi Arabia, the UK, Switzerland and Canada for their generous support of this project.

UNRWA provides assistance and protection to Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the occupied Palestinian territory, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. It does so by offering to a population of some 4.7 million refugees a range of human development and humanitarian services in primary and vocational education, primary health care, social safety-net, community support, infrastructure and camp improvement, microfinance and emergency response, including in situations of armed conflict. UNRWA’s role also encompasses advocacy and actions to address the human rights and protection needs of Palestine refugees.

UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions from UN member states. The Agency’s core budget for the years 2010 and 2011 stands at $1.23 billion. In 2009, emergency appeals for the West Bank and Gaza amounted to $456.7 million, with an additional $370.7 million required for emergency and reconstruction activities in Nahr el Bared, Lebanon.

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For more information please contact:

Matar Saqer
Public Information Officer
UNRWA/Jordan
Tel.: 5809100 Ext. 146
Mobile: 079-5605553       
         

Background Information

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.

Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency's General Fund (GF), supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the deficit stands at US$ 56 million.

For more information, please contact:

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