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Sudan/South Sudan: first ICRC cross-border family reunification

13-11-2012 News Release 12/218

Khartoum/Juba/Geneva (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) today flew seven children from Khartoum, in Sudan, to Juba, in South Sudan, from where they will rejoin their families.

This is the ICRC's first cross-border reunification involving children since the creation of South Sudan in July 2011.

The children, aged between 8 and 16 years, had been living in a child-care centre in Khartoum. The ICRC, working together with the South Sudan Red Cross, managed to locate their families so that the children's journey home could begin.

"This trip marks the beginning of a new life for these children," said Baptiste Jacobe De Naurois, the ICRC delegate who accompanied them as far as Juba. "This is a fresh start for the youngsters, and we wish them all the best of luck." In Juba, the children were placed in the care of ICRC staff based in South Sudan, who will take them the rest of the way to their families. The children will also be provided with essential household and hygiene items.

"We thank the authorities of both countries for their prompt handling of the required paperwork, which enabled the children to be on their way home quickly," said Jean-Christophe Sandoz, the head of the ICRC delegation in Sudan. "The children were separated from their families for a long time, and we are glad they can go home now."

This operation started on the very day the ICRC launched a new website – familylinks.icrc.org – designed to help members of dispersed families restore contact with each other.

The ICRC has been working in Sudan since 1978, where it provides assistance for victims of the armed conflict and other violence. It opened a delegation in South Sudan when the country was created in 2011.

For further information, please contact:
Adil Sharif, ICRC Khartoum (for Arabic), tel: +249 1 83 476 464 or +249 91 213 77 64
Rafiullah Qureshi, ICRC Khartoum (for English), tel: +249 1 83 476 464 or +249 912 170 567
Ewan Watson, ICRC Juba, tel: +211 912 178 946
Jean-Yves Clémenzo, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 22 71 or +41 79 217 32 17