How Blockchain Can Enable Economic Inclusion of Refugees
By Jessica Camus, Chris Hambarsoomian
With approximately one person every two seconds forcibly displaced as a result of conflict, we are witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record according to the United Nation’s High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Nearly half of all refugees under the UNHCR’s mandate are estimated to have been in exile for at least five years, with many forcibly displaced for more than two decades. Due to the difficult circumstances under which refugees are forced to flee, identity documents are often lost, destroyed or stolen. Refugees may sometimes even decide to travel without any documentation to guard against potential persecution.
Refugees may, especially at the outset of their displacement, lack the identification documents required to pass Know-Your-Customer (KYC) criteria, putting them at increased risk of social exclusion, poverty and exploitation. Furthermore, a lack of educational and professional credentials can make it difficult for refugees to find a job and start the process of socioeconomic inclusion in their host countries.
Photo courtesy of Natalia Cieslik.