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.

United Nations: The work of the United Nations (UN) spans many topics and fields, including working with populations affected by conflict, disaster, migration, and other humanitarian emergencies. While “This Week in Restoring Family Links News” could probably focus our entire update on the work of the UN, this will share just a few news stories posted on the RFL Twitter this week.

Since the beginning of the Syrian Civil War, the UN has worked to find a solution to the conflict and provide humanitarian assistance to those it has affected. As many of the Palestinian refugees the UN provides assistance to have been trapped in Damascus, the UN continues to appeal to parties of the conflict to allow humanitarian assistance into the refugee camp. They have also worked to ensure that refugees fleeing Syria into Lebanon maintain their refugee status despite new policies the Lebanese government is trying to enforce.

Elsewhere, the UN continues its work to support refugee communities. Two UN bodies, UNICEF and the United Nations World Food Program, have increased assistance to children at risk of malnutrition in South Sudan and the surrounding nations where South Sudanese refugees have fled. It has also advocated for more resources to help refugees from Nigeria and Central African Republic in Cameroon. The head of the UN agency for refugees has also stated that the majority of unaccompanied minor migrants qualifies for refugee status and has urged for the United States to recognize them as such.

Red Cross Movement: From providing drinking water to refugees in Iraq to aiding Ukrainian refugees in Russia, the Red Cross Movement works to ease human plight all over the world. This includes providing psychosocial support for those who have survived conflict and disaster.

Red Cross Red Crescent Societies around the globe also work to ensure that families separated by conflict, disaster, migration, and other humanitarian emergencies can be reconnected, and hopefully, reunited. This includes a volunteer with the Sierra Leone Red Cross reconnecting a mother and son separated by the nation’s civil war. In South Sudan, the ICRC and the South Sudanese Red Cross have increased their efforts to maintain links between separated families. Likewise, the Irish Red Cross was recently able to successfully reunite a family torn apart by conflict in DRC.

Unaccompanied Minors: Over the past couple months, the unaccompanied minor migrant crisis along the US-Mexico border has received a lot of attention in the news.  This week, several news sources have continued to advocate for humanitarian solutions to the issue that account for the vulnerabilities of this population. Many organizations have also called the US to recognize the migrants as refugees because of the conflict situations many of them have fled.

In the US, many organizations have stepped up to provide help to the minors, including a store in Texas hosting a toy drive for the unaccompanied minors. As the US government continues to plan a long-term solution for the crisis, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson is scheduled to visit detention centers along the US-Mexico border to discuss the situation. As funding for the response continues to remain in the air, refugee communities across the US worry that if Congress does not approve the $3.7 billion requested by the Obama administration, that funding for vital programs for refugee communities may be cut.

Web Inquiry Launch: The Restoring Family Links program is excited to announce the launch of our enhanced website! The website includes a public inquiry form that members of the public can use to ask questions about the program, and if their needs meet our requirements, be put in contact with their local Red Cross chapter to initiate a case. To get everyone excited for the launch, the Restoring Family Links Social Engagement team at National Headquarters has made the video below. Enjoy