This Week in Restoring Family Links News 04/11/2015 - 04/17/2015

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.

Holocaust Remembrance Day: Yom HaShoah, also known as Holocaust Remembrance Day, was this week from the evening of Wednesday, April 15th to the evening of Thursday, April 16th. This day is set aside to honor and remember the 6 million Jews killed during the Holocaust. Around the world, millions recognize the importance of this day as an opportunity to stand against anti-Semitism and the hate that divides humanity. It is also an important opportunity to discuss the legacy of those who survived the atrocities committed during World War II, and how future generations should and can combat genocide and prejudice.

In recognition of this day of remembrance, the American Red Cross’ Restoring Family Links program held an event in honor of victims and survivors of the Holocaust. Rabbi Levi Shemtov, a well-respected and world renowned leader in the Jewish community led a candle lighting ceremony remembering the six million Jews killed during the Holocaust. The event highlighted a campaign encouraging interaction between youth and Holocaust survivors to help ensure that their legacy and hopes for the future live on in future generations. Three youth who participated in the campaign participated in a discussion about their experience.

To watch the full event, please click here.

Refugees in Kenya: Kenya’s second in-command recently released an ultimatum to the United Nations – resettle our refugees, or the Kenyan government will relocate them. While Kenya has been negotiating the resettlement of its Somali refugees for years, this push comes largely as a response to the Garissa University attack, where al-Shabaab, a terrorist organization, killed 147 students. The Dadaab refugee where more than 600,000 refugees reside, is believed by the Kenyan government to support al-Shabaab. The threat has alarmed both refugee communities and the UN Refugee Agency, both of which believe Somalia to be unprepared, and in many places still unsafe, for resettlement.

Conflict in Nigeria: One year ago, the insurgent group, Boko Haram kidnapped 219 schoolgirls. While hope is dwindling for their return, the “Bring Back our Girls” campaign continues to fight to ensure they will not be forgotten. Since the beginning of the insurgency in northeastern Nigeria, over 800,000 children have been displaced by fighting. Many have fled to neighboring Niger, Chad, or Cameroon, while other remain displaced within Nigeria itself. Regardless of where families and children have fled, the displacement has created a humanitarian crisis. While aid organizations, including the International Committee of the Red Cross, continue their work to protect and aid the displaced, the needs far outreach the available resources.

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.

Syria: As the Syrian Civil War drags on, those affected by the conflict continue to struggle inside and outside of Syria. Syrians living in rebel-controlled areas face the constant threat of bombs being dropped by the government. Those in besieged cities and neighborhoods struggle to find food as the delivery of aid continues to be a challenge faced by humanitarian organizations. For Palestinian refugees in Syria, the provision of aid has been made difficult by the presence of armed groups in and surrounding their camp. Refugees have planned a peaceful march against the armed groups in the hope that they will leave the area to allow humanitarian relief to the camp. Syrians who have made the difficult decision to leave their homes continue to face a difficult journey through rugged terrain. Many must flee under the cover of nightfall in order to avoid being targeted by armed groups. While life in urban centers and refugee camps is far from easy, humanitarian organizations work to help Syrians cope with the trauma they have faced and establish as much normalcy as possible. In a refugee camp in Iraqi Kurdistan, the UN has established programs to help support youth in difficult situations, including providing them the chance to express themselves through art and support themselves economically by selling it. Syrian refugees who have sought asylum in Europe face mixed situations. While Austria has increased the number of refugees it will accept, those who have sought refuge in France face slow asylum seeker application processes.

Nigeria: Many nations across the globe face situations in which they are both the host nation for refugees from surrounding conflicts while also the country of origin for those seeking refuge in nearby nations. In Nigeria, refugees from nations including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad, and Mali have appealed to the government for integration into Nigerian society. As conflict in northern Nigeria continues to displace local populations, the host nations have faced difficulty in providing aid for these refugees. In Niger, various UN agencies along with the Red Cross are working to provide humanitarian relief to these refugees without putting a strain on the local population.

Kenya: As Kenya continues to try and find a balance between national security and providing services for its refugee populations, the Somali community has been especially targeted. In what the Kenyan government as labeled an anti-terrorist operation, Somali migrants, refugees, and people of Somali descent have been forced to provide proper documentation for their status in the nation. This week, the Somali community has taken to social media to protest this state terror crackdown. This campaign has taken place in conjunction with renewed push by the Kenyan government to relocate its refugee populations out of urban centers and into its refugee camps.