Turkey’s first lady and Turkish Red Crescent Society President visit Red Cross/Red Crescent Museum in Geneva

Geneva (ICRC) - Turkey's first lady along with the president of the Turkish Red Crescent Society toured the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum the same week Geneva hosted the Global Refugee Forum, a gathering of leaders tackling the issue of refugees worldwide.

Turkey hosts the largest number of refugees in the world – more than 4 million, including 3.6 million registered Syrian refugees. The Turkish Red Crescent and other humanitarian organizations work together to meet the massive needs of refugees, including psychosocial support, food, clothing, language courses and other activities to ensure social cohesion.

On her visit Tuesday to the museum, located at the headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the first lady of Turkey, Mrs. Emine Erdoğan, spoke of the importance of refugees being able to return home. "Our aim, our endeavor is to have an environment of peace for them," she said.

The Turkish Red Crescent is providing refugees with public health services, disaster risk reduction activities and other internal and international humanitarian aid activities, said Dr. Kerem Kinik, President of the Turkish Red Crescent Society.

"We are trying to protect human dignity, provide resilience to the individuals and the communities in Turkey and outside of Turkey. Last year we could reach almost 22 million people. By the end of this year, it will be almost 28 million. We will try to increase this number and reduce the vulnerability," Dr. Kinik said.

The Turkish Red Crescent is also working to reunite separated families, a staple of work also carried out by the ICRC and IFRC (International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies) for many decades. "We received almost 6,000 cases, half of them are solved," said Dr. Kinik. "We have reunified many unaccompanied children with their families, 200 from Iraq and Syria. We are still receiving many requests."

The visit of Mrs. Erdoğan and Dr. Kinik comes during the first Global Refugee Forum, an event held as the number of refugees globally has risen to over 25 million. The Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is reinforcing its efforts to provide services to separated and missing persons and their families through its unique global network of National Societies and ICRC delegations. The new Restoring Family Links Strategy 2020-2025 has been adopted at the Council of Delegates in December 2019.

To respond to the needs of families affected by conflict, the ICRC carries out support economic, nutritional, legal, administrative, and mental-health and psychosocial support activities. In collaboration with National Societies, the ICRC facilitated contact of separated family members through the exchange of nearly 1.2 million messages and phone calls in 2018. Between January and June 2019, more than 360 family members were reunited, including more than 240 children.