Posted by: africanpressorganization | 9 December 2008

Democratic Republic of the Congo / Red Cross launches campaign to reunite conflict-dispersed families

 


 

Democratic Republic of the Congo / Red Cross launches campaign to reunite conflict-dispersed families

 

KINSHASA, Dem. Rep. of Congo (DRC) December 9, 2008/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Although North Kivu has been relatively calm in recent days, the ordeal is far from over for families thrust apart by the armed conflict. To help them, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Red Cross Society of the Democratic Republic of the Congo have launched a campaign to speed up identification of children separated from their parents and family reunification.

 
 

“The campaign is already starting to bear fruit,” said Daniela Tane, in charge of the work carried out by the ICRC’s Central Tracing Agency throughout the Democratic Republic of the Congo. “In just one week we have already reunited 15 children with their parents, which is very promising.”

 
 

“It has to be recalled that there was panic when the guns started to fire,” said Prosper Sebuhire, the Goma-based manager of the campaign. “People fled in every direction. In the confusion, many people lost sight of their children. We do not know exactly how many children are concerned in all, but we have registered 134 since the end of October. There are fears that their numbers may be considerably higher, as the displaced population in North Kivu has been put at over 250,000 since August.”

 
 

The vast network of the Congolese Red Cross is being used both to register stranded children and to take the tracing requests of families having lost contact with their children. The details are then broadcast throughout North Kivu on four local radio stations three times a day. Explanatory posters are displayed in Red Cross offices in the field and in various public places to inform the families about this service. In addition, beginning this week the ICRC is going to display photographs of lost children in areas with concentrations of displaced people – schools, churches and child care centres, as well as camps for the displaced.

 
 

Children are particularly vulnerable in wartime, especially if separated from their parents. They are therefore given special protection in international humanitarian law, and everything must be undertaken to reunite them with their families.

 
 

 

 

SOURCE : International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)


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