This Week in Restoring Family Links News 11/1/2014-11/7/2014

Do you follow @intlfamilylinks (Restoring Family Links’ account) on Twitter? See an interesting article but just don’t have the time to read it? “This Week in RFL News” is a weekly blog segment that highlights and summarizes some of the news items posted by RFL’s twitter.

Unaccompanied Child Migrants: This week, a number of significant news stories came out of New York concerning the work of organizations and child advocates to help unaccompanied child migrants navigate the US migration system and adjust to their new lives. Many religious organizations across the US have opened their arms to these children, providing services that include reuniting them with family, providing legal services, and ensuring they have access to education. Legal assistance is extremely important as there are several [extremely complicated] options through which unaccompanied children can gain legal status in the US. Even with the help of pro bono attorneys, the case isn’t guaranteed to be approved; without this assistance, that chance is reduced dramatically.

In other news, a former child migrant shares his story of fleeing violence in Honduras seven years ago. He is now a citizen of the US and wants to share his story with the US public to help them understand both the hardships faced by youth in Honduras and the gratitude he feels for the help he received. While all children are vulnerable to violence and exploitation while migrating to the US as well as once they arrive, a new report by the Center for American Progress highlights the experiences of LGBT migrant youth and how the US can improve its immigration systems to better account for their protection needs. And on the topic of how the US government can continue to address the situation, Presidents from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras will all be visiting the US next week to discuss ongoing strategies for how to address the root causes of child migration.

Distribution of relief to internally displaced families, Al Dura, Baghdad, Iraq, October 2014

Distribution of relief to internally displaced families, Al Dura, Baghdad, Iraq, October 2014

International Committee of the Red Cross: Daily the ICRC engages in work around the globe to protect civilians from the ravages of war and preserve human dignity. Their work to help refugees fleeing violence in South Sudan and Central African Republic continues to provide a lifeline for many. The ICRC is also deeply engaged in protecting internally displaced persons. In 2014, eighty-eight percent of ICRC food aid went to displaced persons. They also play a critical role in reuniting families separated by violence. This work continues across the globe from Ukraine to Iraq to Nigeria.

South Sudan: Pressure continues to be applied to the armed conflict parties in South Sudan to lay down their arms and work to establish peace. In the capital city, Juba, civilians took to the streets to protest under the theme “Violence Never Gains.” The protest not only pressured the combatants to cease fighting, but also called on the mediating agency, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, to resume negotiations immediately. Internationally, many organizations have signed a petition for states bordering South Sudan and the United Nations to issue an arms embargo to limit the means for continuing violence within the state. While not mentioning an embargo, the United Nations Security Council strongly condemned the violence.

The ongoing conflict continues to affect food security in the region. The food situation in tandem with the violence continues to force many to flee to surrounding nations, especially Ethiopia and Uganda. In Ethiopia, the ICRC and the Ethiopian Red Cross continue to deliver aid in refugee camps and work to ensure the protection of these refugees. Uganda’s refugee system is different in that refugees are not placed in camps, but rather settlements where refugees are encouraged to grow their own food and work to support themselves with some assistance from aid agencies.