This Week in Restoring Family Links News 8/30/2014-9/5/2014

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 Movement: This week was active with reconnecting families stories (and art work) from Red Cross Red Crescent Societies around the globe. The Australian Red Cross shared a powerful, interactive story of Nadine who was separated from her family by conflict in Burundi. Through Red Cross Messages, Nadine and her mother were able to communicate, and four years later, were reunited in Australia. In Ukraine, the ICRC shared their work to reconnect families who have been separated due to the conflict there. And in Nepal, years of conflict have left many persons missing. The ICRC and Nepal Red Cross continue their work to learn the fate of the disappeared and support families of the missing. In addition to reconnecting families services, many Red Cross Red Crescent Societies support their refugee populations in other ways. Both the British Red Cross and the New Zealand Red Cross help newly resettled refugees adjust to their new lives through employment, cultural, and psychosocial programs.

Central African Republic: This week’s updates on the Central African Republic (CAR) paint a bleak picture of a crisis that has received little international attention. Just as violence seemed to be on the decline, renewed violence in the capital city, Bangui, resulted in the death of a Central African Red Cross volunteer while he was evacuating casualties. Since the beginning of the conflict, many have fled the violence to seek refuge in Cameroon and Chad. This has increasingly been unaccompanied children who have either been orphaned by violence or separated from their parents while fleeing fighting. The International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) highlighted this trend through the story of Zeinabou who led her four siblings to a refugee camp in Cameroon after their parents were killed. Many residents of the capital and the surrounding area have also crossed the Oubangi River to seek asylum in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). AlJazeera released an excellent interactive blog depicting the history of violence in the region and the stories of those now awaiting their return home in DRC.

South Sudan: As conflict continues in South Sudan, many youth have taken on activist roles to urge the government and rebels to find a solution and bring peace to the nation. However, pan-African youth organization, Africa Speaks, has emphasized that the peace brought through negotiations must focus on the interests and needs of the people rather than the maintenance or sharing of power between a few political elites. Several music groups have also used music to speak out on issues currently plaguing South Sudan, including conflict and food insecurity. Many youth have had to take on leadership roles because of the conflict, either due to their parents’ death or separation, including a young girl who led her siblings to a refugee camp in Uganda after being separated from their parents. In other South Sudan news, the UN has appointed a new head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), Ellen Margrethe Løj. In an interview, she emphasized that the UN will continue to support and protect civilians in South Sudan.