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Liberia: Campaign to reunite Liberian children with their families

23-10-2003 News Release 03/132

Last week the ICRC and the Liberia National Red Cross Society launched a large-scale tracing campaign in five West African countries.

The pictures of 707 Liberian children who have been registered by the ICRC in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana are being displayed on posters in market places, schools, hospitals and camps for displaced persons and refugees, the aim being to reunite the children with their families.

    

If a relative recognizes one of these children, the information he provides is compared with the information supplied by the child. Once the family link is established, the relative is invited to write a Red Cross message to the child, with whom he may ask to be reunited. Posters are only one way of tracing relatives; other means include radio broadcasts and community work.

Anyone who is or knows a relative of a child who has been separated from his family is encouraged to contact Red Cross volunteers in Liberia and neighbouring countries. At present there are 10 places in Monrovia and over 30 more outside the capital where the public can go. Red Cross offices can be found in Tubmanburg (Bomi county), Tienni (Cape Mount county), Bong Mines (Bong county), Cestos (Rivercess county), Greenville (Sinoe county) and Zwedru (Grand Gedeh county) and there is a tracing booth displaying a " Red Cross Family Tracing " banner in every camp for displaced persons in Montserrado county, Kakata, Salala and Totota.

Two similar campaigns were launched in Liberia in December 2002 and March 2003 with very positive results. During and after the recent attacks on Monrovia, the ICRC and the Liberia Red Cross Soci ety also reunited 185 children with their families. Every year the ICRC brings thousands of families together in over 70 countries worldwide.

 For further information, please contact:  

 Juan Martinez, ICRC Geneva, tel. ++ 41 79 217 32 17