This week in Restoring Family Links: 06/06/2016-06/10/2016

This week in Restoring Family Links: 06/06/2016-06/10/2016

Refugee team to compete in the Olympics: On June 3, the International Olympic Committee revealed that a team of 10 refugees will be participating and competing in the Rio Olympics Games in 2016 under the Olympics flag. The athletes are citizens of South Sudan, Syria, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Ethiopia – all of which are suffering from instability and insecurity. The selected participants will participate in a variety of sports, such as swimming, athletics – 800m, athletics – 400m, marathon, athletics – 1500m, judo – 70kg, and judo – 90kg. 

Read More

This week in Restoring Family Links: 05/23/2016-05/27/2016

This week in Restoring Family Links: 05/23/2016-05/27/2016

World Humanitarian Summit: From May 23 to May 24 in Istanbul, Turkey, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon initiated the first World Humanitarian Summit. The summit was convened at a time period when “protracted conflict, instability, and forced displacement are the defining features of the global landscape,” and when the growth of financial needs for these crises increases significantly. The summit thus urged world leaders, organizations, and others to take more actions to aid those needs as well as to prevent further human suffering. 

Read More

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 02/21/2015 - 02/27/2015

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.

Refugee Response: This week, we shared a number of stories highlighting the variety of international responses to refugee crises around the globe. Since a terrorist attack in Peshawar, Pakistan last December, there has been a lot of pressure, both unofficial and publicly sanctioned, on Afghan refugees to return home. The United Nations has urged the Pakistan government and public to continue their generous support of Afghan refugees as Afghanistan remains largely unsafe for many to repatriate. In response, the Pakistani government has made assurances that Afghan refugees will remain welcome for as long as they continue to need refuge.

As both a brutal winter and a war continue in Syria, those who have fled the conflict continue to struggle through an ever changing international humanitarian aid landscape. At the end of last year, food aid was temporarily suspended because of a lack of funding. However, organizations including Red Cross Red Crescent National Societies continue to try and alleviate the suffering of those affected by the conflict. The international response has also included nations accepting Syrian refugees for resettlement. While the US has promised to increase the number of refugees it resettles from Syria, domestic fears of terrorism have slowed the acceptance rate. Elsewhere, humanitarian organizations continue to struggle to meet the needs of refugees and the displaced fleeing situations including Boko Haram in Nigeria and conflict in the Central African Republic.

Reconnecting Families: This week, the American Red Cross Los Angeles Region shared some of the great outreach work their International Services team is doing to raise awareness of the reconnecting families services of the Red Cross. This work is a crucial piece of reconnecting families separated by conflict, disaster, migration, and other humanitarian emergencies. In addition to this amazing outreach work, several reconnection stories were shared including a mother’s reunion with her son through the Australian Red Cross and the ICRC’s successful reconnection of a mother and daughter separated by the conflict in CAR. We also shared again the story of a mother and son reconnected via Skype thanks to the ICRC.

Restoring Family Links Story Campaign: This year’s Restoring Family Links Story Campaign begins on March 16th! This is a great opportunity to share the reconnecting families work of the Red Cross as well as stories on outreach, volunteer and staff appreciation, and other topics related to the International Services work of the Red Cross Movement. All stories will be published on the Restoring Family Links Blog, and may also be considered for local and national American Red Cross blogs. For more information on prizes, submission requirements, and deadlines please contact Jon Dillon at jon.dillon@redcross.org

This Week in Restoring Family Links News 9/20/2014-9/26/2014

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.

Syria’s Refugees:  Amid the media coverage of the US government’s decision to bomb ISIS in Syria, there remained a steady stream of stories dedicated to the plight of Syrians who continue to flee fighting in the nation. Last weekend, a sudden influx of refugees crossed the border into Turkey. While some estimate the number around 66,000, others have reported that as many as 130,000 Syrian refugees entered Turkey over a four-day period. This increase comes at a time when an end to the conflict seems further away than ever. More than 3 million Syrians are now registered as refugees outside their home country. Many of them suffering injuries in addition to the trauma of displacement.

Many Syrian refugees, as well as others fleeing conflict and poverty in the region, are increasingly risking the perilous journey across the Mediterranean Sea to seek asylum in Europe. Just last week, 700 persons are believed to have drowned due to shipwrecks while making the journey. This humanitarian crisis underscores the desperate situation in which many refugees and migrants have found themselves. While Italy’s Mare Nostrum mission has saved thousands from a watery grave, the operation is due to close soon, leaving many worried for an impending catastrophe.

United Nations: This week, global leaders gathered in New York for the United Nations General Assembly. Over the course of the next week there is much to discuss. The United Nations is grappling with several significant crises all while trying to provide assistance to the largest number of refugees the world has seen since World War II. From South Sudan, to Cameroon, to Syria, Afghanistan, and the Ebola Crisis, the task is daunting, and many UN agencies continue to call for the international donor community to better fund their response to these efforts. Climate change is also taking center stage during the meeting, with many urging for the creation of protections for persons forced to relocate due to climate change.

Migration Matters: This week, the Restoring Family Links Blog continued to cover migration issues and the work of the Red Cross Movement to assist migrants through its blog series – Migration Matters. These blogs explore the language used when we talk about migrants as well as the work of the Cruz Roja Hondureña, Cruz Roja Salvadoreña, and Cruz Roja Guatemalteca to assist returned migrants. While the blog has primarily focused on migration in the Americas, the Red Cross Movement is involved in providing services and protection to migrants around the globe. The Malaysian Red Crescent and ICRC help migrants detained in Malaysia communicate with their families back home. As migration issues continue to be discussed in international and domestic spaces, it is important to keep in mind the following words of Pope Francis:

“A more decisive and constructive action is required, one which relies on a universal network of cooperation, based on safeguarding the dignity and centrality of every human person. This will lead to greater effectiveness in the fight against the shameful and criminal trafficking of human beings, the violation of fundamental rights, and all forms of violence, oppression, and enslavement…It is necessary to respond to the globalization of migration with the globalization of charity and cooperation.”