(RFL) is the general term for a range of activities that aim to reduce the separation of family members from each other and their disappearance and to re-establish contact between families and maintain and disclose the fate of people who are missing.
When people are separated from their parents or have heard no news from them, as a result of armed conflict or other situations of violence, natural disasters or other situations requiring a humanitarian response, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent respond efficiently and effectively by mobilizing its resources to restore family links.
Armed conflicts and other situations of violence, natural disasters and man-made disasters, international migration and other odds of countless people seeking to get on news of their family members. Respecting family unity goes hand in hand with respect for human dignity, and welfare of a person, to a large extent, counts on its ability to stay in touch with his loved ones or at least to obtain information on what happened to them. For that, every part of the International movement of the Red Cross and Red Crescent makes various unremitting efforts for decades to restore family links.
This unique service, in addition to the moral support provided, placed at the heart of the work of the movement benefiting hundreds of thousands of people annually from the RFL service. The RFL generic term refers to a range of activities that aim to prevent separation of the people from each other and their disappearance and to reconnect families and maintain and disclose the fate of people who are considered missing. Often these activities are closely linked to psychological, legal and material support provided to the families and people who are affected from the programs, resettlement and reintegration, and social welfare services. Other activities include the management of human remains and identification by forensic science.
The International committee is firmly committed to helping people who are missing any of their family members. As part of the emphasis and implementation of the commitments that International Conference have taken the responsibility on during the meeting held in 2003 by Governmental and Non-Governmental Experts and as part of humanitarian work, which was approved by the twenty-eighth International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent agenda regard leading a global initiative to promote the movement's ability to reconnect family links with their missing members. The strategy of Restoring Family Links (RFL) of the international red cross and red crescent movement is a result of this initiative. It also represents an affirmation of the support given by the international committee to national societies to fulfill their commitments and in decisions taken by the Council of delegates and the international summit of the Red Cross and Red Crescent over the years.
Family Links Network (which includes the central agency for searching missing persons, agencies in the ICRC delegations for searching missing persons and the tracing services of National Societies) encounter great challenges in the mean time. There is some misunderstanding of the nature of work of the restoring family links in all parts of the network and a sense of irresponsibility and commitment. When that combined with the problem of the scarcity of resources, and increasing the size and the complexity of the situations that require humanitarian action, and an increasing number of other entities operating in this traditional sphere of actions taken by the movement, enormous effort should be made if the various components of the Movement wanted to retain their outstanding importance.
The ICRC as well the National Societies and the International Federation all have a responsibility to build a network of family links and taking care of promote and maintain them. The effectiveness of this unique international network is counting on the ability of components to strengthen capacity, intensify cooperation and to identify priorities for action. To address these issues, the Movement should adopt a more comprehensive approach to build capacity across the network by performing the following:
Restoring Family Links activities take various forms depending on the situation:
There are number of activities linked closely to RFL program activities in psychological, legal and material support provided to the families and people affected.
These activities are:
Planning is very important for everyone as it is the opposite of randomness and spontaneity, improvisation and lack of system. Planning is a compass to determine direction for the success of the works and achievements, a guide to the future up to the desired goals. Thus, the Saudi Red Crescent Authority launched family links program between prisoners and their families through family messages and tracing requests and telephone and video communications of the detainees in Guantanamo, Iraq and Bagram and others from Saudi and other nationals whose families reside in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. for the families to be able to communicate with their children in collaboration with the international Committee in accordance with the strategy adopted for this program by the legislator authorities, this program spread the sense of relief for these families and their children, giving a remarkable impression on the work of the Saudi Red Crescent Authority.
The embodiment of the superior human meanings of compassion, empathy and solidarity which our beloved Kingdom's leadership government and people of Saudi Arabia follow, The Saudi Red Crescent Authority is seeking to put marks on the humanitarian map of values. That was the duty of the Authority to work on achieving harmony and integration among their departments to achieve these goals that the Authority were found for it. From that standpoint and from the Aspect of the commitment of the Authority including issues of the decisions and instructions of the national societies of the Red Crescent and the Cross was in 2009, the establishment of a separate department within the Directorate General for international Affairs in the Saudi Red Crescent Authority for restoring family links. This step has been the gradual establishment of this administration by granting all human and material resources to ensure the success of their work and to achieve the desired goal. Despite the fact that the actual activity began in 2003 by exchanging some messages, in 2009 has been considered the professional breakthrough which was the result of proper planning where it began telephony and video communications and work within the RFL prepared strategies.
The Saudi Red Crescent Authority began to develop a strategic plan to establish a national network for restoring family links where the launching started in Riyadh region, spreading later until the 13th office was created all distributed in every administrative region in Saudi Arabia.