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Restoring Family Links

Migration, conflict, and disaster separate families and can lead to a lifetime of uncertainty about the fate of relatives.

The Irish Red Cross is part of an international network that traces separated relatives, restores contact, and reunites families who have lost contact because of migration, conflict, and disaster. 

This free service, known as Restoring Family Links (RFL), is coordinated by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).  It prevents separation, and disappearance and clarifies the fate of people reported missing using trained specialists in many countries around the world and at the ICRC Central Tracing Agency in Geneva.  If you are considering using this service, please see the resources section to the right before proceeding.

Resources

RFL: There are four ways of using the Restoring Family Links service.

1. Online: When a large-scale emergency occurs, you can go to the dedicated website and submit information about the people you are looking for or, if you have become separated, you can register your location. The ICRC Family Links Website can be found here.

2. Tracing: To make a tracing request you can complete a tracing form and post it to us at 16 Merrion Square, Dublin 2, or arrange an appointment by contacting restoringfamilylinks@redcross.ie. Please note meetings are strictly by appointment.

Download a tracing form in: English, Spanish, Arabic, Russian, French and Somali.

3. Messaging service: Our messaging service means we can pass on your personal messages to relatives in detention and places where communication systems have broken down. Request a Red Cross Message form here.

4. Travel Documents: ICRC Emergency Travel Documents allows refugees, displaced or stateless persons in need of a document to travel to Ireland

Further resources

Useful Information for refugees and asylum seekers in Ireland 

More about Restoring Family Links, Tracing Service and the Central Tracing          Agency

How to find missing family in Ukraine

If you have lost contact with your family in Ukraine during the conflict and you know they have crossed the border, please keep trying to contact them. It may be a temporary loss of contact as they transition to networks in other countries.

If after a couple of days, you are still unable to contact your family and you think they are still within the territory of Ukraine, we may be able to help you.  You can initiate a tracing request for immediate family members including brothers, sisters, mother, father, children, and life partners.  Unfortunately, we are unable to search for friends right now, but this may change over time.   

Please email restoringfamilylinks@redcross.ie and provide us with your full name, telephone number and email address. A team member from the Restoring Family Links service will contact you as soon as possible to start the process of tracing your relatives. 

What happens after I contact the Red Cross for help?

You will be invited to attend an interview with an RFL caseworker who will complete a tracing form with you.  During the interview process, you will be asked many questions regarding the details of the loss of contact between you and your loved one.  Once we have collected the information you will be asked to give your consent for us to share the information with our Red Cross colleagues at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and other Red Cross colleagues in Ukraine and surrounding countries as well as State and civil society organisations. The choice of sharing this information is yours and we will not share any information without your consent. We will initiate your request and keep your details on our database and send the request to the ICRC Central Tracing Agency Bureau who will begin the search.  We will then provide you with your case reference number in case you wish to make enquiries on your case.  We will keep you updated as we received feedback on your case from our colleagues.

How long will my case take?

While we know this is a worrying time for you and you are anxious for news of your loved one, unfortunately we cannot give you a timeframe of how long your tracing request will take or a guarantee that we will be able to locate your relatives. However, our colleagues will endeavour to do all they can to provide you with news about the fate of your family member as soon as possible.

Examples of Tracing and Family Reunion Stories

The ICRC Family Links Website can be found here

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