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.
Austria: On Thursday, the bodies of up to 50 refugees were found in an abandoned tractor-trailer on the side of the road in eastern Austria near the Hungarian border. The bodies were discovered after a patrol officer noticed a smell coming from the side of the road, and later discovered dozens of badly decomposed bodies inside. Chief of Burgenland police Hans Peter Doskozil said it is unclear whether the refugees suffocated in transport, and suggested they might have been dead for several days. He also said the truck had been there at least since Wednesday, but that police only investigated its contents Thursday. As of now, the identities and nationalities of the individuals have not been determined. The police chief called the incident, “A terrible crime.”
International Day of the Disappeared: The International Day of the Disappeared takes place every year on August 30. The day was created to draw attention to the fate of forcibly imprisoned individuals whose whereabouts are unknown to their family and/or legal representatives. International Day of the Disappeared was first practiced by an NGO in Costa Rica who advocated against secret imprisonment, forced disappearances and abduction in a number of Latin-American countries. Now, the day is celebrated all over the world.
Organizations like Amnesty International and the Red Cross are actively working towards ensuing justice for those with loved ones who have disappeared. Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty said, “As we mark the International Day of the Disappeared, we offer our support to all the victims and families of those forcibly disappeared and illegally detained by state authorities across the world. Governments in countries where enforced disappearances are occurring must come under greater pressure to stamp out this abhorrent practice.”
Similarly, the ICRC offers various types of support for families, ranging from economic security programs to help them find new livelihoods, to legal and administrative advice, to emotional care and help with trying to find out the facts and ways of remembering their missing loved ones. Marianne Pecassou, a leading expert on the missing at the ICRC said, "All too often, especially in conflict situations, the problem of the missing is just not on the radar. Governments and other actors need to make sure it is on the agenda and do more to address the practical and emotional needs of the families.”
If you have a family member who has disappeared, the Red Cross may be able to help you reconnect. Click here for more information.
#ProtectHumanity: This summer, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) created the #ProtectHumanity campaign in order to raise awareness for the protection of migrants around the world. Migration is a growing phenomenon that affects every country. There has been a dramatic rise in people attempting the crossing from North Africa to Europe (also called Mediterranean Migration), and thousands have died since January. Similar tragedies have unfolded in Southeast Asia and the Middle East, but this is not limited to journeys by sea, as many are at risk as they cross land borders. Some succeed and some fail, and Red Cross and Red Crescent societies are determined to respond to all that migrants may need.
Here are a few facts and figures generated through the #ProtectHumanity campaign:
25% of the world’s migrants are in Africa.
A majority of the migrants crossing the US-Mexico border are unaccompanied minors.
103,000 migrants have reached Italy, Greece and Malta this year.
3.9 million Syrians have found refuge in neighboring countries.