International migration is one of major challenge faced by the world leading to numerous consequences on humanity. A collective response by the National Societies in the Red Cross Red Crescent movement is required for restoring family links (RFL) and helping the migrants in detention. The Inter-Regional RFL Meet paved the way for future growth and development. For the first time ever National Societies from Asia and Gulf region participated to build strong network amongst themselves. The next meeting on similar lines would be hosted by Indonesia Red Cross in 2009. Before that follow up meetings would be held to monitor and evaluate the overall goal achieved in meeting the tracing needs’ informs Béatrice Munier, RFL Advisor, ICRC Geneva.
Shaista Khattak, Assistant Director-Tracing, Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS) informed that Red Cross Message and tracing request are available online and PRCS also maintains tracing database. She further stated that the meeting helped in understanding the role of tracing in migration which was completely new to her.
Dr. Oussedik Fazwi, Head of International Relations and IHL, Qatar Red Crescent Society stated that the meeting helped in getting acquainted with participants from other National Societies. This would surely help in strengthening the network and also working in closer cooperation. The deliberations of the meeting would surely add a snowball effect and make things happen in restoring more family links especially in the Asia and Gulf region.
The Inter-Regional RFL meeting was organized from May 12th – 14th 2008 at the Disaster Management Centre, National Headquarters, Indian Red Cross Society. It was attended by the representatives from the National Societies namely Indonesia, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Bahrain. Representatives from ICRC, Geneva and India also participated in the meeting. The Indian Red Cross Society with the support of the ICRC to achieve goals enshrined in Restoring Family Links Strategy for International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (2008-2018) and meeting the strategic objective on enhancing coordination and effectiveness of the movement cooperation.
Mr. Vincent Nicod, Head of Regional Delegation, ICRC, India mentioned that due to technology the services have gone more advanced. Resultantly, the overall figures of restoring more family links have augmented.
The other objectives of the meeting include taking an initiative in harmonizing the RFL network in the regions of South Asia and Gulf, to exchange experiences and capitalize on the best practices between the National Societies and the ICRC and to improve the response to the tracing needs.
In India, within the span of one year, 100 tracing focal persons have been identified and trained at the State and District level which is likely to get doubled by 2008. The NHQ has also developed guidelines and training manual and volunteer’s handbook on tracing. Tracing services are now outreached to ‘accompanied minors’ in addition to refugees, internally displaced population, migrants, stranded foreigners and population affected by natural and manmade disasters. IRCS is also in the process of developing RFL database and Guidelines on Management of dead bodies and psychosocial support.