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Democratic Republic of the Congo: 51 children returned from war to families

22-05-2006 News Release 06/50

Geneva (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) today reunited with their families 47 children who had been involved in the fighting forces.

They were taken from Lubumbashi to the town of Dubie, in the Pweto territory of eastern Katanga province. Four other demobilized children from the Kamina transit and orientation centre were also reunited with their loved ones in Dubie. The parents of most of these children are currently living in camps for displaced people around the town. Logistical problems meant that the children had to be flown there.

Families separated by war and children recruited into national armies and other armed groups are among the most tragic consequences of many present-day armed conflicts. In close conjunction with the Red Cross Society of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the ICRC works hard to reunite parents with such children once they have been demobilized. The organization's delegates first locate the children's families, then restore contact between them, and then ultimately reunite them.

In 2005, the ICRC arranged for 547 children who had been involved in the armed forces or in armed groups in the Congo to be reunited with their families. It is currently searching for the parents of other demobilized children whose cases have been referred to it.

As part of its humanitarian mandate, the ICRC does its utmost to come to the aid of people affected by armed conflict and other situations of widespread violence within a country. It monitors compliance with international humanitarian law, including that law's ban on recruiting children into national armed forces and other armed groups.

 For further information, please contact:  

 Sadia Kaenzig, ICRC Kinshasa, tel. +243 81 700 8536  

 Bruce Mokaya, ICRC Lubumbashi, tel. +243 99 702 2507 or +243 81 899 6844