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Rwanda and Great Lakes region: ID photos prove salvation of lost children

28-08-1996 News Release 96/34

Since July 1994, 26,673 children lost in Rwanda and surrounding countries have been reunited with their families. Over 8,000 others have at least been put in touch with their loved ones. This is the result of an operation combining the efforts of the ICRC and several other organizations.

In cases where these " unaccompanied minors " are either very young, sick or severely traumatized by what they have experienced, it is virtually impossible to obtain accurate information about their identity and that of their parents. In order to overcome this difficulty, UNICEF began taking ID photos of the children staying at its own centres and those run by its partners. The photos are then displayed in the camps around Goma, Zaire, an initiative that has so far enabled 2,000 children to be returned to their families.

Both the ICRC and UNICEF will be represented at a photo-journalism festival to be held from 30 August to 15 September in Perpignan, in southern France. An information session on unaccompanied minors, including an audiovisual presentation and discussion, will take place on the evening of 5 September.