This Week in Restoring Family Links News 8/2/2014-8/8/2014

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.

Red Cross around the World: While the seven fundamental principles of the Red Cross Movement are the same globally, the work of Red Cross Red Crescent societies often varies by context. In the United Kingdom, the British Red Cross provides practical and emotional support for local refugees. This includes helping asylum seekers obtain refugee status, but also bringing refugees together for psychosocial support. In the US, the American Red Cross supports refugee populations by providing reconnecting family services. This vital service helps refugees reconnect with family they were separated from while fleeing conflict or during resettlement.

In times of conflict, Red Cross Red Crescent societies will often partner with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to provide humanitarian assistance. In Ethiopia, the Ethiopian Red Cross, in coordination with the ICRC, is providing firewood for refugee women. This work protects women from the sexual and gender based violence that often occurs while searching for firewood and also ensures that elderly and sick women have access to this resource. The Red Crescent societies of Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt along with the ICRC are currently working together to provide humanitarian assistance for those affected by increased violence in Libya. This includes providing life-saving medical supplies as well as restoring family links services. As the crisis in Ukraine continues, the ICRC along with Red Cross societies in the region have increased their efforts to help refugees fleeing the conflict as well as provide medical services for those injured by fighting.

Burma: Despite reforms made over the past couple years, stories out of Burma continue to report deteriorating human rights conditions. This has included the arrest of several journalists last month. While their sentence was lessened this week, many remain concerned about press freedom in the nation. Burma has also been lax on ensuring minority rights for the Rohingya, who are often barred from education and limited in their freedom of movement. These conditions have led Human Rights Watch to call on the US government to pressure the Burmese government to ensure recent human rights reforms are upheld. Some of these reforms include recent bilateral agreements between Burma and Thailand to combat human trafficking between the two nations.

SS Flooding.jpg

South Sudan: News continues to circulate concerning the deplorable conditions in South Sudan. This week, aid workers were targeted and killed during fighting between the conflict parties. The ICRC responded with a statement urging for those fighting to respect international humanitarian law. Meanwhile, flooding and famine continue to make conditions worse for a growing number of internally displaced persons. In this context, it is the hope of the international community that the South Sudanese government and rebel forces can reach a peace agreement as they resume negotiations.