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World Red Cross Red Crescent Day: May 8th is World Red Cross Red Crescent Day. The day serves as a great opportunity to highlight the humanitarian work and global reach of the Red Cross Movement. Since this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Movement’s adoption of their seven fundamental principles, this year’s World Red Cross Day celebration highlights the importance and impact of the principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity, and universality. These principles are supported and maintained by the work of over 17 million volunteers worldwide.
The reconnecting families services of the Red Cross are a great example of the seven principles in action.
Humanity: Every year, the Restoring Family Links program helps to alleviate human suffering by reconnecting separated families. The pain and suffering experienced by family separation often compounds the trauma experienced during conflict, disaster, and migration. The Red Cross understands that family connection is a crucial piece of human resilience.
Impartiality: The reconnecting families services of the Red Cross are for everyone separated from their loved ones. We’re also impartial when it comes to cultural understandings of family or life circumstances that alter definitions of family. Some may consider a neighbor who helped raise them as family. Others, such as those who identify as LGBT, may be fleeing their biological family and consider others within the sexual/gender minority community as their family. In either case, the Red Cross is there to help reconnect.
Neutrality: Regardless of documentation status, political affiliation/opinion, or other stance regarding topics often viewed as controversial, the Red Cross will reconnect you with your loved ones.
Independence: While the American Red Cross supports the humanitarian relief efforts of the US government and adheres to US law, we maintain autonomy in order to act in accordance with the principles of the Red Cross.
Voluntary Service: Across the US and around the world, thousands of volunteers are hard at work helping to reconnect separated families. In the US, this can mean going door-to-door, looking for information on a sought person. Elsewhere, volunteers ride through refugee camps on their bicycles, calling a sought person’s name on a bullhorn, hoping to re-establish communication. Without the dedication of these volunteers, this service would not be possible.
Universality: Through the principle of universality, the Red Cross Movement works together to provide reconnecting families services, and collaborates to improve and grow this service.
To learn more about this service, please visit redcross.org/reconnectingfamilies. This year, for World Red Cross Red Crescent Day, the IFRC set up a Facebook page to share and celebrate the work and dedication of volunteers around the globe. To see their work or join in their recognition, please click here.