The Refugee Identity

Medium essay byPaul Currion: “From Article 6 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights (“Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law” ) to Sustainable Development Goal 16.9 (“By 2030, provide legal identity for all, including birth registration”) to the formation of the ID2020 Alliance (whose fourth goal is to “Enable more efficient and effective delivery of development and humanitarian aid), identity has been central to the modern project of development.

Discussion of identity within the aid sector is embedded in a much larger set of political, social, economic, legal and technical discussions at a national and global level. This review will not address that larger set of discussions, but will instead focus specifically on humanitarian aid, and more specifically refugees, and more specifically still on refugee camps as a location in which identity provision is both critical and contested. It is the first output of a DFID-funded research project examining data requirements for service delivery (by UN agencies and NGOs) within refugee camps.

Given how central the issue of identity is for refugees, there is surprisingly little literature about how identity provision is implemented in the context of refugee camps.1 This essay introduces some of the critical issues relating to identity (particularly in the context of the digitisation of aid) and explores how they relate to the research project. It is accompanied by a bibliography for those who are interested in exploring the issue further.,,,(More)”.