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Universal Children’s Day: This week marked the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, an important treaty providing protection for children around the globe. Over the past decade and a half, much has been done to better children’s lives from reducing child labor to protecting from abuse and assault to improving access to healthcare. The Convention also establishes family as a critical aspect for ensuring a child’s well-being, including the right to family connection and unity, in which the American Red Cross and Global Red Cross Movement play a pivotal role.
The Restoring Family Links program at the American Red Cross remains dedicated to reconnecting families separated by conflict, disaster, migration and other humanitarian emergencies. Over the years, this service has helped thousands of children reconnect with their loved ones, ensuring their access to the protections they need, often at times of increased vulnerability. There may be no better example of this than the Red Cross’ work along the US-Mexico border during the unaccompanied child crisis this summer.
The difficult journey many children undertook this summer, leaving their homes in Central America to reach the safety and hope of the United States, often left them without any way to communicate with their loved ones, both back home and in the US. After experiencing violence and vulnerability both in their home nations and along the journey, this lack of communication added to their trauma. Working in cooperation with partners, the Red Cross was able to provide safe and well phone calls for children detained in Nogales, AZ as they waited to be processed by the US government for release to sponsors or family.
Similar work is done year-round by the Global Red Cross Movement to help children reconnect and reunite with their families. From Syria, to the South Sudan and Uganda, children can rest assured that the Red Cross is there and able to help them. This is but one piece of the puzzle to creating a more resilient generation of youth to lead the world in the future. But hopefully, by reconnecting and reuniting families, children will find themselves in more secure, peaceful settings in which they can receive all the other aspects necessary for childhood development.
For more information on the Convention of the Rights of the Child, Universal Children’s Day, and the work of other humanitarian organizations to provide assistance and protection for children, check out these other stories we shared this week. The ICRC shared a photo essay of their work with children over the past 150 years. UNICEF released a progress report on their work to reduce infant mortality rates. And several humanitarian organizations joined together for a Google Hangout to discuss their work helping children in conflict zones become children of peace.