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Restoring Family Links

For those who have lost contact

For those who have lost contact with their families as a result of a humanitarian crisis (conflict, natural disaster, migration), the Restoring Family Links (RFL) service is there to help restore or maintain family unity and find out the fate of missing relatives.

The main causes of separation

Whether it be in contexts of armed conflict, natural or man-made disasters or international migration, the causes of separation are many: arrest, capture, detention, displacement, disappearance, evacuation of the wounded, detention of migrants, human remains abandoned on the spot and/or unidentified, lack of access to means of communication, etc. Members of the same family may thus lose contact with each other.

A wide range of activities

To address this, RFL has a number of direct activities. First of all, the service’s role is to prevent disappearances and separations and to restore and maintain contact between family members. It also ensures that information is obtained on the fate of missing persons.

At the same time, many activities are linked to those of RFL, such as the development and promotion of international humanitarian law, material, legal and psychological support to families and affected persons, forensic identification and handling of human remains, social welfare services or resettlement and reintegration services.

A global network

The dispersion of families does not stop at national borders. That is why the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), 65 delegations and 192 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies work together to help people who have lost contact with their families due to conflict, natural disasters or migration. They help each other to address needs and process each request.
Find your family on Restoring Family Links | Restoring Family Links (icrc.org)

As part of their efforts to reunite dispersed family members, several Red Cross National Societies in Europe publish photos of people searching for missing relatives on www.tracetheface.org.

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