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Liberia: ICRC launches poster campaign to reunite children with their families

23-04-2004 News Release 04/56

The ICRC and the Liberian National Red Cross Society have launched a new tracing campaign. The campaign involves ICRC delegations and Red Cross Societies throughout West Africa, who are joining forces to trace the relatives of Liberian children separated from their families.

The pictures of 495 Liberian children registered by the ICRC in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana and Nigeria appear on posters and booklets under the slogan “Help us find our parents. " The materials are displayed in public places, such as markets, hospitals, schools and camps, both in Liberia and in the surrounding countries.

The campaign will cover all 15 counties in Liberia. It will involve every ICRC delegation in this part of Africa and will get pictures of these children into the remotest areas. Using posters will enable the ICRC to help children who can give no information about their families, or who have given incorrect information.

The ICRC has already run three similar campaigns in Liberia, in 2002 and 2003. The results were highly encouraging: between October 2003 and March 2004, 527 Liberian children re-established contact with their relatives, and 194 were reunited with their families in Liberia. Currently, the ICRC is handling the cases of 1,891 Liberian children looking for their families. Of these, 243 are associated with armed groups, either in Liberia itself or in neighbouring countries.

In addition, the ICRC conveys Red Cross Messages (RCMs) between members of families who wish to restore contact or stay in touch via the worldwide Red Cross tracing network. Between October 2003 and March 2004, Red Cross tracing personnel in the region collected 26,534 of these messages and distributed 13,432.

Since October 2003, the ICRC has been expanding its tracing activities throughout Liberia, especially the northern, north-western and south-eastern counties. There are 130 tracing stations around the country and 280 volunteers are participating in the campaign and other tracing work.

For further information, please contact:

Virginia de la Guardia, ICRC Monrovia, tel. ++377 47 528 089