Skip main navigation



In this video we see the UNHCR process of registration being undertaken by Hailie Sigabo. Hailie works as a Registration Assistant in a UNHCR Registration Centre in the district of Shire, Northern Ethiopia. We see Hailie register two Eritrean children – one child has travelled unaccompanied and the other is currently being looked after by his uncle but wishes to be reunited with his grandmother. Whilst other children wait to see Haile, they can spend time playing with other children outside the waiting room.

When Eritrean children first cross the border into Ethiopia they are identified as unaccompanied and separated by officials of the Ethiopian Government. Children then travel to the district of Shire with teams from the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

During the registration process Hailie begins the UNHCR Best Interests Determination process (BID) by asking questions from UNHCR‘s Best Interests Assessment (BIA) format. UNHCR undertakes the registration and assessment process as quickly as possible.

UNHCR supports the provision of alternative care and protection services for children in refugee camps in collaboration with the Government of Ethiopia’s department for Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA) and non-governmental agencies.

The term registration is used to refer to several distinct procedures:

  1. It is used to refer to government-run immigration procedures, particularly when adults or children arriving in a new country declare that they are refugees and wish to apply for asylum in the country. The process is supervised by immigration officials, who record personal details about the individual.

    In some countries, unaccompanied and separated children seeking asylum are issued with a temporary identification document such as an interim refugee certificate, or a certificate confirming that the child is applying for asylum. Officials then decide on what should happen next to the child.

  2. It is used when the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) registers a person as an asylum seeker or refugee. This includes recording personal details. They then check this information. The purpose is to ensure that the adults and children concerned can be properly protected. It is conducted by staff who have specialist training.

  3. It is also used to refer to the recording of information about a child for the purpose of family tracing. This involves trying to find information on the whereabouts of a child’s parent or parents for family reunification purposes.

In many situations, a child who is registered will be given an individual case number or registration number. This is a unique or personal identification number so they are not confused with another child. It also helps when trying to find any records about that child and with keeping each case record confidential.

This article is from the free online

Caring for Children Moving Alone: Protecting Unaccompanied and Separated Children

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now