GENEVA - More than 500,000 Rohingya refugees who fled a brutal crackdown in Myanmar two years ago, have received identification cards that the UN insisted on Friday were critical to safeguarding their right to return home.

Issued to all refugees over the age of 12, in camps in southern Bangladesh, the biometric, fraud-proof card is for many, the first time that they have owned an official document that proves their identity.

“Most of these people are stateless and most of these people have not had any form of identification document, so for the vast majority of the Rohingya refugees, this is the first ID, a first proof of identity that they have,” UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) spokesperson Andrej Mahecic told journalists in Geneva.