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Tracing - Restoring Family Links

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1 Tracing - Restoring Family Links

2 Henry Dunant ( ) In 1859 Henry Dunant, a travelling Swiss businessman, came across the aftermath of the battlefield of Solferino in what is now northern Italy. The battle had seen 40,000 casualties in one day. Horrified by what he saw, he mobilized the local community to assist the wounded on both sides of the conflict. Nationality, and rank, were not important to Dunant and his early volunteers. Returning to Geneva, Dunant wrote A Memory of Solferino , which eventually led to the creation of the International Committee for Relief to the Wounded - the future International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). It promoted the idea of rules in war, to be agreed to by nations, to help to reduce and limit the sufferings. His ideas were the foundation of the Geneva Conventions. In 1901, he received the Nobel Peace Prize. His birthday, 8 May, is celebrated as World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day. Left: Henry Dunant Right: Battle of Solferino, June 1859. Tableau de Carlo Bossoli, Museo Nazionale del Risorgimento, Turin. © ICRC / hist-00022  Photothèque CICR (DR)/

3 Story of Claudius Mazuet
At the Battle of Solferino, one French soldier, Claudius Mazuet, spoke with Henry Dunant and pleaded for news to be taken to his family. The passage is an extract from Dunant’s journal. Dunant tracked down the Corporal’s family and told them of their son’s death. This was the first ‘trace’.

4 International Committee of the Red Cross
Henry Dunant went on to lobby European governments to do more to limit the suffering in armed conflict. His main ideas were: -for a treaty obliging combatants to care for wounded soldiers once ‘hors de combat’ -for an emblem to clearly distinguish medical workers giving assistance on the battlefield -for the creation of volunteer relief societies (Red Cross National Societies) to act as neutral players, where needed reinforcing military medical services. The ICRC was established in Geneva, and its work to restore family links and search for the missing dates back to 1870. It is the custodian, or guardian, of the Geneva Conventions. The Geneva Conventions are the core/fundamental treaties of international humanitarian law, or the laws of war. During the Franco-Prussian war the obtained lists of French wounded held by Prussian forces, and vice versa - and provided this news to families on both sides. The same was done later for prisoners of war. As a neutral organisation, Red Cross is the one trusted to take messages to and fro. The information gathered and passed on is personal news only, clearly no military information. Since then, searching for missing people separated by conflict, disaster and other humanitarian needs has become a major part of the ICRC’s protection work, and all parts of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (Such as Australian Red Cross) are part of the network.

5 Geneva Conventions Provide minimum standards of humanity during times of armed conflict Recognise the right of people to know the fate of loved ones (eg GC4/25 and AP1/32) The work of the ICRC and Red Cross National Societies to help families restore contact and clarify the fate of the missing in time of conflict has an established basis in international humanitarian law (IHL). The Geneva Conventions require authorities involved in armed conflict to do everything possible to help separated family members regain contact.

6 Australian Red Cross & World War 1
ww1 Australian Red Cross & World War 1 Australian soldiers traced by small office in Cairo 1915 – Gallipoli and Western Front campaigns caused huge numbers of wounded, missing and POWs. 1915 – Establishment of Australian Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau 1916 –Bureau moved to London 1914 Australian Branch of the British Red Cross Society formed on outbreak of First World War From the beginning of the war casualty lists were posted daily in major newspapers. However this provided little detail and gave minimal comfort to the families anxious for more news. Australians started to turn to the Red Cross for further information. Initially, these enquiries were handled by the Australian Branch of the British Red Cross Enquiry Bureau in Cairo, but in 1915 when the Australian Imperial Force were sent to the major battles in France, and the Dardanelles/Gallipoli campaign commenced, the number causalities increased dramatically and the workload quickly became overwhelming. 1915 Official formation of Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau 1916. Bureau operations were transferred from Egypt to a new Australian Red Cross headquarters in Victoria Street London Photo:1st Battalion troops waiting near Jacob's trench for relief by 7th Battalion. Lone Pine, Gallipoli, 8 August (Photo, acquired from Australian War Memorial, is in public domain) 1st Battalion troops waiting for relief near Jacob's trench, Lone Pine, Gallipoli, 8 August Image from (Public domain)

7 Red Cross Heroic Women Vera Deakin Elizabeth Chomley
Secretary of ARC Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau Personally wrote 400,000 letters to families at home. Established POW Department of Bureau Organised 395,000 parcels for Australian POWs. Elizabeth Chomley With some 417,000 personnel enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force during the four years of World War I, the task of keeping worried families informed about their wounded, missing and captured relatives and providing support for the POWs required the contribution of two exceptional women, Vera Deakin and Elizabeth Chomley Vera Deakin, the youngest daughter of Alfred Deakin (Australia’s second Prime Minister) was a Red Cross volunteer who travelled to Cairo to contribute to the war effort. Vera became Secretary of the Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau and personally wrote 400,000 letter to worried families at home. Elizabeth Chomley (dubbed ‘the patron saint of prisoners of war’) worked for the ARC in the newly formed POW department from 1916 until it closed in She helped provide many Australian POWs with parcels full of necessary supplies while they were in captivity. She organised 395,000 parcels in total.

8 World War 1 tracing systems
ww1 World War 1 tracing systems Efficient and effective communication was an essential factor in providing Red Cross services during WWI, and remains so today. However they lacked today’s technological advances. Communications were either handwritten or typed on a typewriter using carbon paper for copies and the stored on index cards. Information was transmitted via cables or shipped overseas, which could take up to 6 weeks. London, England. Women at work in the Index Card Department at the Prisoners of War Information Bureau (Donor British Official Photograph BB6) Images from (Public Domain)

9 World War 1 relief packages
ww1 World War 1 relief packages Local efforts in Australia were also crucial to the success of the Australian Red Cross services. The Yass and District Red Cross’s contribution during WWI was is often cited at the primary example of how an entire community worked to provide clothes, funds and other supplies overseas. These efforts were typical throughout the country and demonstrated the level of support the Australian public provided the soldiers. Red Cross Unit in NSW collecting funds in WW1. RC Archival image AX Goods made by the Northcote Red Cross branch for sick & wounded Australian soldiers. (Source: AWM, Public domain)

10 A vital service 40 million people displaced by armed conflict, persecution Thousands more by natural disasters and forced migration. Separation can lead to serious physical, psychological, financial repercussions. The number of people displaced by armed conflict and persecution stands at over 40 million worldwide, with many more affected by natural disasters and forced migration. Red Cross recognizes the suffering caused by forced separation from family and loved ones and the impact of separation and/or having missing family members People’s wellbeing depends greatly on their ability to reconnect or stay in touch with loved ones, or at the very least, receive information regarding their fate. The loss or separation from a family member is a traumatic experience that can have serious physical, psychological and financial repercussions on individuals, families and communities. After a crisis, letting family and friends know you are safe and well can bring yourself and your loved ones great peace of mind. PAKISTAN Balakot. Camp for people affected by the earthquake. Suite au tremblement de terre du 08/10/2005  Fédération/MAYER, Till

11 100 years of service Over 100 years Australian Red Cross has responded: World War 2 Balkans conflict 2004 tsunami Missing migrants at sea The application of the Australian Red Cross’ Tracing services today is wide ranging and extensive. Their services have been crucial in a wide number of disasters and situations of armed conflict. WWII Enquiries The aftermath of WWII produced large number of refugees and mass migration across Europe and overseas. Today, the ARC still receives many enquiries from families that have been separated due to his war decades ago. Balkans conflict - the ‘Book of Belongings’ contains photographs of 2,702 photos of clothes, jewellery and other personal effects belonging to the exhumed bodies of persons found around Srebrenica, in eastern Bosnia-Herzegovina after the town was overrun in July The book has been consulted by more than 1,600 persons looking for their missing loved ones and to date, 139 objects, concerning 64 cases, have been recognized in the new book. 2004 tsunami The 2004 earthquake in the Indian Ocean and resulting tsunami affected many countries in Southeast Asia and beyond, including Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Maldives, Somalia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Seychelles' ad others. With so many people affected throughout the world, the Red Cross Tracing services were crucial in locating missing persons and restoring family links. Missing migrants at sea Australia is surrounded by treacherous waters, and often people seeking asylum arrive in vessels that aren't able to withstand these conditions. The Australian Red Cross provides its Tracing services both to overseas families seeking their missing loved ones and to survivors that have made it to our shores and wish to contact their families back home. TOP : Ayacucho, APERU May 2007  A delegate from the International Committee of the Red Cross meets with villagers in Yuraccera, from Accomarca district, Ayacucho about an exhumation being carried out. In Accomarca, an estimated 200 people disappeared during armed conflict. In Peru, the International Committee of the Red Cross helps families to clarify the fate of people who went missing during the armed conflict. It does this by funding institutions specialised in gathering information on missing persons and providing psychosocial support for the families, enabling them to participate and play an important part in the search and clarification process.  ICRC/HEGER, Boris BOTTOM: Photo of a page from the Book of Belongings  Australian Red Cross

12 Networks cross 189 countries
Today the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement helps civilians restore family links. Searches to find a missing person or clarify a missing person’s fate require constant communication via the extensive, collaborative network in Australia and throughout the world, located in more than180 countries. Red Cross adherence to their Fundamental Principles of Neutrality and Independence enables staff and volunteers to access hard to reach places. Left photo – Sri Lanka – Kamulamunai school. ICRC and Sri Lankan Red Cross working together to help the victims of the Tsunami across the country restoring contact with their families, by enabling them to telephone relatives in Sri Lanka or abroad. 12/01/2005 Ó CICR/BARRY, Jessica Right photo – CONGO (REPUBLIQUE DEMOCRATIQUE) - ICRC family-reunification programme. Roger Bimael, 17, who became separated from his family during the fighting, is finally reunited with his loved ones. 05/02/  ICRC/VII/HAVIV, Ron  ICRC/BARRY, Jessica  ICRC/VII/HAVIV, Ron

13 What the service does Clarifies the fate of the Missing
Helps families re-establish contact 3. Facilitates the exchange of family news  Marko KOKIC/ICRC The Red Cross International Tracing Service can assist families separated by armed conflict, natural disaster and migration by: 1. Facilitating the exchange of family news 2.Helping families re-establish contact 3.Clarifying the fate of the missing Photo 1 description -  Marko KOKIC/ICRC Photo 2 Photo - Kandahar, AFGHANISTAN October 2010  A young boy speaks to his relative who has been held for nine years in detention at the United States facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  Video-teleconferencing is a service provided by the International Committee of the Red Cross. The video calls, which can last up to one hour, give detainees and their families the opportunity to not only speak but also to see each other.  Kate HOLT/ICRC Photo 3 - Port-au-Prince, HAITI January 2010  A forensic expert from the International Committee of the Red Cross, along with morgue staff, recover bodies from the Port-au-Prince prison where several inmates escaped following the earthquake. The bodies were delivered to the University Hospital Morgue. The earthquake, which ocurred on 12 January 2010 in the Port-au-Prince region, was the worst earthquake the country has ever endured. To assist with recovery efforts, ICRC distributed body bags and provided technical expertise for the management of human remains. This assistance helped with the proper and dignified management of dead bodies and improved the possibility of successful identification.  Marko KOKIC/ICRC  Kate HOLT/ICRC  Marko KOKIC/ICRC

14 Success! Joy! After 19 years of separation, and with the assistance of the Australian Red Cross International Tracing Service, Isha Munya is reunited with her daughter, Faduma. On the reunion day Isha exclaimed: “It was so emotional, you could feel it in the air. I saw Faduma come off the plane. I couldn't hold my tears back.” And although the Red Cross does not guarantee success, searches are conducted until all options are exhausted within Australia, with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and relevant Red Cross/Red Crescent offices overseas. In 2012 almost 50% of cases in Australia closed were done so successfully. In 2012 the Australian Red Cross assisted more than 2000 families search for missing loved ones In total, the ICRC…. In 2012: handled more than 279,000 Red Cross messages enabling family members to exchange news – 50,000 of these messages were to or from detainees; facilitated 227,500 phone calls between family members; registered over 3,500 unaccompanied/separated children, including 597 former child soldiers; reunited more than 2,300 children with their families. In 2012, the ICRC also launched its new RFL website,, which guides visitors to the RFL services of the ICRC and of the National Societies in 149 countries. The site also contains the names of 21,000 people still being sought by their relatives in connection with the conflicts in Bosnia, Croatia, Kosovo, Nepal and Somalia. Over 720,000 people contacted ICRC offices around the world for advice or services related to protection and family links.  Australia Red Cross / Mourne de Klerk

15 Visits around Australia
Nauru Australian Red Cross conducts tracing services in mainland Australian Immigration detention facilities as well as Christmas Island and offshore processing centres of Nauru. Australian Red Cross has been visiting immigration detention facilities under arrangements with the Federal government since 1993. Image above shows the Australian Immigration Detention facilities which Red Cross has and continues to visit. Since the image was developed at 13 September 2013, several of these detention facilities have now closed. In ,000 of all ICRC messages handled were either to or from detainees. This image has been amended from DIBP website

16 Case Study Samuel, a nurse, was separated from his two young children by violence in war-torn Sierra Leone in 1999. For years, Samuel desperately tried to locate and contact his children with no success. Samuel contacted Australian Red Cross to see whether they could help find his children.  Two months later, Red Cross called Samuel with the good news. His children had been found safe, well and happy. Samuel is now in regular contact with his children. Samuel: New South Wales, AUSTRALIA 2013 *Name has been changed to protect the privacy of the individual. Case study used in extra activities.  Australian Red Cross/DEKKER, Rodney  Australian Red Cross/DEKKER, Rodney

17 Questions Entre Ríos, Guatemala. Pedro Coc hugging his grandmother. © CICR / C. Amezquita Picture: Entre Ríos, Guatemala. Pedro Coc hugging his grandmother. © CICR / C. Amezquita For further information please contact your local Red Cross office Tracing team or

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