Uganda / DRC: Ten children to be reunited with their families in DRC

The ICRC in Kampala has successfully handed over ten minor children to the ICRC delegation in the DRC at Bunagana point on the Uganda-DRC border for reunification with their families.

The children, whose ages range from one to seventeen years, were separated from their families due to the ongoing conflict in the North Kivu region of the DRC. They had been staying at three different refugee settlements in the west of Uganda. The ICRC provided them with the necessary hygiene material, clothes and shoes, and ensured they received yellow fever vaccine prior to their voluntary repatriation.

ICRC delegates who transported the children to the Uganda-DRC border on Wednesday said the children were happy and excited, especially as they got close to the border and started to recognize the terrain.

Seemingly a simple act, the handover is a multi-tier and lengthy process involving different actors at different stages. Upon arrival in Uganda, when it is confirmed that they are unaccompanied minors, the children refugees are registered by the Uganda Red Cross (URCS) volunteers.

They are also able to write Red Cross Messages (RCM) to their families informing them about their location and conditions. These details are shared with the ICRC in the respective countries of origin of the children.

When the families of these children are located and RCMs successfully delivered, they reply to the RCMs and also mention if they are interested in reunification with the child. If the children also show their consent to be reunited, the ICRC requests the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to carry out Best Interest Determinations (BID) for them.

Upon receipt of approval from the BID panel, the ICRC requests the Office of the Prime Minister for permission to collect these children from the settlements and take them to the border where they are handed over to the ICRC delegation of the recipient country who will then reunite them with their respective families.

Present in Uganda since 1979, the ICRC supports families of missing persons and visits detainees to check on their conditions of detention and treatment. It also promotes the teaching and learning of International Humanitarian Law and basic Humanitarian principles among the armed forces, police and universities.

The ICRC in partnership with the Ugandan Red Cross Society reconnects families separated by armed conflicts in the region.

For further information, please contact:

  • Salah Uddin, ICRC Kampala: +256 772 221 994
  • Claire Aude Kaplun: +41 79 244 6405