In a new report, HRW claims the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) improperly collected and shared personal information from Rohingya refugees with Bangladesh, which shared it with Myanmar to verify people for possible repatriation. HRW’s report also says that the agency did not conduct a full data impact assessment, as its policies require, and in some cases failed to obtain refugees’ informed consent to share their data with Myanmar, the country they had fled.
HRW report says: “Since 2018, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has registered hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees in Bangladeshi camps and the Bangladesh government has issued them identity cards, which are needed for essential aid and services. Bangladesh then used the information, including analogue photographs, thumbprint images, and other biographic data to submit refugee details to the Myanmar government for possible repatriation.”
The UNHCR has denied any wrongdoing or policy violations. It says it “has clear policies in place to ensure the
safeguarding of the data we collect when registering refugees all over the world.”
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