• Home
  • News
  • International Day of the Disappeared and how to restore family links

International Day of the Disappeared and how to restore family links

30 August 2020

Sunday 30 August is the International Day of the Disappeared. « Restoring Family Links » was created to help people locate missing relatives, in the aftermath of a humanitarian crisis, such as an armed conflict, or a natural disaster. It helps those who lost track of their families to restore, or maintain, family links.

“Restoring Family Links” (RFL) is a global programme, part of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement’s. As such, several delegations of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent, as well as Red Cross National Societies, contribute to it. “This initiative aims at supporting the relatives of missing people. We try to find more information about the disappeared and to find out what happened to them after they have been caught in conflict situations, or natural disasters,” explains Mathilde Dumonceaux, RFL focal point at the Luxembourg Red Cross.

Mathilde Dumonceaux also manages the social workers of the Migrants and Refugees Service of the Luxembourg Red Cross. « The vast majority of people who request a support from RFL are beneficiaries of the Migrants and Refugees Service », she says. From time to time, other units of the Luxembourg Red Cross, or of external organisations, ask for RFL support. The RLF service of the Luxembourg Red Cross can also receive requests from other National Societies, or delegations of the ICRC coming from all over the world. This is the case whenever there is a chance that one missing person potentially transited, or has been seen, in Luxembourg.

How does the RFL programme work?

« At the Migrants and Refugees service, we inform our beneficiaries about the RFL programme. If someone shows interest, we propose him an individual meeting. An interpreter can attend this meeting, if needed. During the meeting, we fill a special request with the contact information of the person looking for her relative, as well as some information about the context, for instance when and where she lost track of her relative,” adds Mathilde.

Mathilde Dumonceaux

One of the most used tools to restore family links in Luxembourg is the digital platform Trace The Face: https://familylinks.icrc.org/europe/fr/Pages/search-persons.aspx

The platform includes picture galleries, so that people looking for their missing relatives can post their picture. Only certified users from the Red Cross national societies or ICRC delegations are granted access to the picture galleries. This way they can ensure that the protection of the data on this platform while assisting the families who want to do research.

Other tools for restoring family links are the Red Cross messages (MCR) and the Trolley Chat Box, an ambulant Internet connectivity and recharging tool for digital devices.

To learn more about Restoring Family Links, click here.