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OPM-UNHCR Verification Exercise: Update, 07 September 2018

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Govt. Uganda
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The ongoing verification of refugees in Uganda that started on 1 st March 2018, has verified a total of 26,386 individuals last week bringing the total as of 7th September 2018 to 900,502. This represents 62.3% of the estimated target of 1.4 million registered refugees. The highest daily output was 7,663 individuals verified in a single day last week.

During the week, four verification teams out of the original six were operational. The team in Arua already concluded the exercise in Lobule, Imvepi and Rhino. The team in Kyangwali transferred to Kampala where preparations were ongoing for the soft launch on Friday 7th September.

The verification site located at Old Kampala Secondary School was set-up with rubb halls and required infrastructure by logistics partner AIRD. UNHCR partner InterAid was engaged in the information campaign and recruitment of interpreters and ushers from the refugee community. The verification team received refresher training and briefings on the urban caseload and common cases particularities.

In Kyaka II, the verification team operated at half capacity as 25 staff members completed their contracts with three additional planned to leave by next week. Weather conditions also disrupted activities with heavy rainfall. Despite all of the challenges, the small team worked an additional day on Saturday and managed to verify 8,504 individuals, including new arrivals (post March 2018) that are not reflected in the official statistics.

In Adjumani, the exercise started in Boroli with a very large turnout and a record of 3,665 individuals verified in one day. An increase in fraud attempts was also noted, including the identification of 62 recyclers, 83 individuals impersonating registered refugees and 67 nationals. In Palorinya, a low turnout continues to be observed with OPM processing a backlog estimated at 4,000 individuals who have been living in the settlement pending registration.

In Bidibidi, a large turnout was noted in addition to a high number of baby additions and family reunion requests since continuous registration was not conducted in the settlement since early 2017. Ascertaining the existence of genuine relationships between the large numbers of persons requesting for family reunification, with hardly any identity document to support their claims, has been quite challenging. As a result, 265 individuals deemed to be Ugandans were rejected and denied family reunion. Additionally, 55 individuals were identified as impostors impersonating registered refugees and 39 nationals; their cases were closed and documents confiscated.