This Week in Restoring Family Links News 10/12/2015 - 10/16/2015

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.

Red Cross Impartiality: This week, the Restoring Family Links Blog highlighted the Red Cross Red Crescent Fundamental Principle of Impartiality. This principle ensures that the work of the Red Cross Movement does not discriminate based on race, religion, or political belief; serving those most in need regardless of who they are. For the Restoring Family Links program, that also means reconnecting loved ones no matter their definition of family.

Impartiality can be seen across the movement, from delivering aid to all those affected by the conflict in Syria, to helping families in Myanmar recover after flooding regardless of ethnicity, to reconnecting loved ones separated by World War II. Impartiality ensures the Red Cross can activate all its Fundamental Principles to help humanity.


Migration in the US: With Europe receiving unprecedented numbers of refugees and migrants, it’s easy to forget that just last year in the United States, we had our own migration issues to address that continue to challenge humanitarian and government organizations. The complexities of US immigration has left thousands of children in limbo as they await a court decision that could either grant them asylum status in the US or send them back home.

There’s a lot of worry surrounding the latter option. There have been several reports that returned migrants to Central America are at immediate risk of violence, even death. And now those who decide to try to leave again face even more dangers traversing Mexico. Increased enforcement along the southern border has forced migrants to take riskier routes leaving them vulnerable to trafficking and exploitation.

In an attempt to decrease the number of children migrating from Central America while still offering them a chance at protection, the United States opened an in-country processing center where children with family in the US could apply for refugee, or parolee status. However, to date, while 4,600 youths have applied, only 11 have received this status. While the State Department says this is due to the lengthy process of screening the applicants, many immigration advocates are pushing for faster procedures to ensure those in need of protection receive it.

Migration in Europe: This week, the International Organization for Migration released a series of interactive maps detailing the status of and the response to refugees in Europe. Thousands continue to attempt the journey, and as winter approaches, many nations prepare for how that will change their response to meeting refugees’ needs. Meanwhile, the EU continues to try to address the issue on multiple fronts, this week offering aid and the renewed possibility of EU membership to Turkey in exchange for increased migration enforcement.

Reaction to refugees and migrants has been mixed. While the news of xenophobia and violence has tended to dominate the news, there are plenty of stories of communities and individuals rising up in support of their new neighbors. In Germany, one musician is supporting a Syrian refugee family both emotionally and socially, helping them through the asylum process. While in Greece, one community benefits from a commercial boost provided by refugees while simultaneously helping them on their journey.