This Week in Restoring Family Links News 8/16/2014-8/22/2014

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.

World Humanitarian Day: This week, organizations and individuals around the world recognized World Humanitarian Day. This day is set aside to honor the work of humanitarians, especially those who have passed away while serving others. It is also a chance to highlight the variety of humanitarian work done globally, and the gaps that remain. With conflicts increasing both in number and severity, this year’s day of recognition placed emphasis on the growing needs of humanitarian organizations. However, with these needs has come opportunities for innovation within the aid sector. This includes unique partnerships between humanitarian organizations and private sector businesses as well as advancements in providing aid to refugees by learning from refugees themselves.

Displacement in Iraq: Quick point of clarification before I dive into the news from this week – many have classified the Yazidi communities displaced by fighting in Iraq as refugees; however, technically they are internally displaced persons (IDPs). The distinction is important in that IDPs are not protected under the UN refugee convention. However, international humanitarian law does provide protection for IDPs in times of conflict. Regardless of whether those displaced by conflict are labeled as refugees or IDPs, the international community has the responsibility to protect them.

And now back to your regularly scheduled programming. Last week, there was a great summary of the current work being done by various UN agencies to provide humanitarian aid to those affected by the Iraqi conflict. This week a map was released highlighting their response and the gaps that remain. Globally, many nations have increased their efforts to meet the needs of the Yazidi. Turkey announced that it will be opening a refugee camp specifically for Yazidi refugees seeking asylum within its borders. Australia has responded by reserving refugee resettlement spots specifically for refugees fleeing the conflicts in Syria and Iraq. In the US many Iraqi refugees anxiously await updates from family members and look for ways to help the displaced.

Unaccompanied Children: As the response to the unaccompanied minor migrant crisis continues, many communities in the US are now hosting the children as they await immigration hearings. One Maryland mayor has encouraged his community to welcome and treat the children as neighbors. In Miami, schools are welcoming the unaccompanied migrants and providing education. While in the San Francisco Bay Area, many families are looking to provide foster care for the children. Over the past couple months, the number of unaccompanied children crossing the US-Mexico border has decreased. This could be the result of a number of different things, including actions taken by the US and Central American governments, but also the intense summer heat.