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.

Volunteer Appreciation Week: This week, the Restoring Family Links blog celebrated the amazing contributions of volunteers to the American Red Cross through their work with the RFL program. From the program’s Advocate in Chicago helping an unaccompanied minor reconnect with his mother, to the story of Manyang Reath who was reconnected with his mother by the Red Cross and now volunteers for the program, the work of reconnecting families would not be possible without the dedication of these volunteers. Many other organizations also rely on the passion and commitment of volunteers to support their services. Volunteers with Catholic Charities in Nashville work to help refugee youths make the transition to living in the US. Thank you to all the volunteers who make the work of the American Red Cross and other humanitarian organizations possible!

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Rwandan Genocide: This week was the 20th anniversary of the beginning of the Rwandan genocide. Over a 100-day period in 1994, extremist Hutus slaughtered over one million Tutsis and moderate Hutus. 20 years later, the memories live fresh in the minds of those who survived the violence. Ever since the genocide, refugees continue to remain in the surrounding nations for fear of returning to their home nation. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) alone is home to over 200,000 of these refugees. While it should never take genocide to remind the world the necessity of preventing genocide, many have taken the Rwandan tragedy as a call to action for preventing future atrocities. The Rwandan and Israeli governments and civil societies have come together through their shared experience of genocide to promote awareness and prevention. While one humanitarian worker who helpless witnessed the violence in Rwanda from neighboring DRC calls on the international community to end the ongoing humanitarian crises in the Central African Republic and DRC.

Migrants: Last year, the tragedy in Lampedusa drew the world’s attention to the thousands of deaths that happen annually as migrants attempt to reach Europe by boat from North Africa. As Spring arrives and the waters of the Mediterranean begin to calm, the number of migrants who attempt this trek is expected to increase substantially, especially those seeking asylum from the political oppression in Eritrea. This past week alone, Italian authorities reported that 4000 migrants were rescued from the sea. This increase will necessitate immigration reform in the EU and calls on the international community to address the humanitarian crises currently driving migration. In the Americas, Honduran migrants injured during the treacherous migratory route from Central America to the US have called on the Mexican government to provide better protection for migrants. In a series by NPR, the lives of migrants as well as those who live along the US-Mexico border are shown. Meanwhile as immigration reform continues to stall in the US, bipartisan meetings begin to show signs of hope for an agreement in the coming years

Story Campaign March Recognition: Each month for the story campaign, every contributor from that month is being entered into a drawing for special recognition. We are excited to announce that March's special recognition is going to Bob Wiltz for his story on the work of the Greater Chicago Region to educate young adults about international humanitarian law and the struggles faced by refugees. In addition to the small prize for contributing to the blog, Bob will receive a certificate thanking him for his contributions to the outreach efforts of the Restoring Family Links program and recognizing his volunteerism and blog on the American Red Cross blog.