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Côte d'Ivoire: searching for the families of eight children

12-12-2012 News Release 12/188

Abidjan (ICRC) – In order to find the relatives of eight very young children who were separated from their families during the armed conflict that erupted after post-election violence in 2011, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is launching a poster campaign in eastern Liberia, western Côte d'Ivoire and in Abidjan.

Article updated on 12 December 2012 to include a sound clip.

The posters, with photographs of the children, will be displayed in the offices of the ICRC and of the Red Cross Society of Côte d'Ivoire, and in health centres, markets and other public places in the hope that they will be recognized by a family member.

"The ICRC is still looking for the parents of around 100 children – including the eight children at the centre of this campaign, who were so young and vulnerable when they lost their parents that they've been unable to provide us with enough information," said Monique Crettol, who coordinates tracing activities for the ICRC delegation in Abidjan. "The Red Cross has tried everything to find the children's families, so far without success."

Since 2011, the ICRC has identified 837 children separated from parents who live mostly in Liberia or Guinea. Thanks to numerous actions taken in close cooperation with the Ivorian and Liberian Red Cross societies and various child safety organizations, and with the support of the Ivorian authorities, the ICRC has managed to restore contact with the relatives of 610 of them through written messages or telephone calls. In addition, it has reunited 129 children with their families.

Everyone is invited to look at the pictures of the children, the youngest of whom is just four years old. "If you recognize a child, please contact the ICRC or the Red Cross of Côte d'Ivoire or of Liberia," said Ms Crettol.

Searching for missing people and helping them to restore contact with relatives is one of the most important tasks of the ICRC and of national Red Cross societies.

For further information, please contact:
Layal Horanieh, ICRC Abidjan, tel: +225 09 39 94 04
ICRC Abidjan, tel: +225 22 40 00 70
Red Cross Society of Côte d'Ivoire, tel: +225 05 70 88 21