Croatia: Experts from 46 countries to discuss data protection in humanitarian action
Belgrade (ICRC/Croatian Red Cross): Over 65 million people have been forced to flee their homes globally due to armed conflict or natural disasters, often separated from their family members or stranded on different continents. The component partners of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement have been working to reunite families, giving the restoring family links (RFL) network the capacity to provide information about missing persons when all other channels have failed.
Highlighting the strength of the Movement partners' collaboration when it comes to tracing missing persons, Ms Florence Anselmo of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) set the tone during the opening of the annual European Restoring Family Links Conference and Data Protection Workshop that started in Zagreb today. Ms Anselmo is the deputy head of the Central Tracing Agency and Protection Division at the ICRC.
The four-day event has been jointly organized by the ICRC and the Croatian Red Cross. Close to 150 persons from Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies from 46 countries have gathered in Zagreb for the conference. They are not only from Europe, but also from North America, Oceania, Africa and Central Asia.
The first two days are devoted to the issue of restoring family links with a focus on the development of a new RFL strategy for the Red Cross/Crescent Movement, provision of RFL in emergencies, and existing mechanisms that are deployed within the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement but also to tracing missing persons from WWII which is still very much present topic among the national Red Cross societies.
The third and fourth days are dedicated to the implications that European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is likely to have upon the Movement. This will be significant when referring to personal data that is shared and stored between National Societies based in and out of EU. With the GDPR scheduled to come into effect in May 2018, the workshop would provide the participants with an opportunity to identify potential challenges and align the procedures with new regulations.
During the workshop, experts from the European Data Protection Authority would touch upon the minimal data security measures that must be kept in place when providing RFL services. Participants will also share best practices and challenges, case studies and results of data protection framework mapping exercises, thus identifying problem areas and take measures during the run-up to the GDPR transition period.