This Week in Restoring Family Links News

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.

Syria: This week the Restoring Family Links blog posted a series on Syria highlighting the humanitarian work being done globally to help those affected by the civil war. Two of the stories focused on educating the American public about humanitarian law and its importance as the civil war enters its fourth year. Another looked at the effects of the war on children while two other stories looked at the work of the ICRC and other Red Cross and Red Crescent societies to reconnect families who have been separated by the conflict. In addition to these stories, the RFL Twitter feed shared new pieces ranging from the resilience of refugees as they celebrate Newroz, the traditional Iranian new year holiday, to their struggles to obtain aid outside crowded refugees camps and the use of social media to bring attention to their plight. All these stories underscore the traumatic effects of the Syrian Civil War as well as the importance of supporting the organizations helping Syrian refugees and those displaced by the conflict.

South Sudan: This week, the South Sudan government and rebels have resumed peace talks in Ethiopia. As the conflict continues to affect regional stability, numerous actors are doing their part to ensure the success of these talks. Egypt has stood by the government of South Sudan, supporting a peaceful end to the conflict and the maintenance of democracy in the nation. In addition to hosting the peace talks, Ethiopia has also welcomed thousands of refugees displaced by the conflict. While the return to peace talks is an important step, international organizations continue to warn of the impending humanitarian crisis if the previously agreed upon ceasefire is not upheld. As planting before the rainy season was hindered by the conflict, it is likely that the nation will experience a food shortage; however, the rainy season will also make the delivery of humanitarian aid more difficult. A successful peace process and the compliance of both conflict parties to humanitarian law is necessary for a humanitarian catastrophe to be averted.

Refugees: From discussing the work of organizations in the US to help the nation’s resettled refugee communities to the struggles and successes faced by the global refugee population, there are numerous topics in the news about refugees. This week, the RFL Twitter feed highlighted three general topics: repatriation, refugee camp improvement, and US support of and education about refugees. In Uganda, as the nation receives an influx of refugees from South Sudan, the government is negotiating the return of the Congolese, Burundi, and Rwandan refugees there. Meanwhile, in Kenya, as the government prepares for the repatriation of its Somali refugee population, it has closed urban registration centers and ordered all refugees in the nation to return to its refugee camps. Both of these stories highlight the pressures put on hosting governments by their refugee populations as well as the difficulties faced by refugees when asked to repatriate. In Jordan, a new refugee camp is set to open at the end of April. This new camp uses solar power to help reduce the camp’s cost as well as provide better lighting during the night to hopefully reduce security risks, especially those faced by women and girl refugees. In the US, stories highlighted the work of organizations to support refugee families and celebrate their culture. We also highlighted this weekend Global Refugee Simulation and Conference, which will bring together hundreds of American youth to learn about refugee issues! For more information on the simulation/conference, please click here. To view the livestream of Sunday's conference, please click here.

RFL blog in Spanish! And one final announcement is that today, the Restoring Family Links blog is officially going bilingual! Gradually over the next few months, previously posted stories on the blog will be posted in Spanish with the goal of eventually posting the English and Spanish version simultaneously. This is a part of our ongoing work to reach wider audiences to promote the Restoring Family Links program of the Red Cross Movement.