Andrew Paynter, Senior Policy Advisor, UNHCR, says there are 10 million stateless people – a person not considered a national by any state. The effects are exclusion from education, health and ability to travel, even within a country.
The causes are discrimination for particular ethnic minority groups, gender etc.
The concept of statelessness and identity are different, but have much of the same impacts. Lacking documentation does not make one stateless, but it can make him/ her unrecognised to governments.
Refugee registration and recording of bio data (finger printing, iris scanning) is a critical protection tool to inform UNHCR who the most vulnerable refugees are; the unaccompanied children etc. Bio data enables safeguards, e.g. preventing individuals from coming up twice for food.
Issue of identity incredibly relevant to the work of UNHCR.