|ICRC Activities in Rwanda: 1993 - 6 April 2000 (International Committee of the Red Cross , 230 p.)|
THOUSANDS OF CHILDREN TO BE REGISTERED
In Rwanda, the problem of thousands of unaccompanied children is as crucial as ever. The humanitarian organizations present there and in Zaire. Burundi and Tanzania are doing everything they possibly can to give these children the protection and assistance to which they are entitled. An essential part of caring for them is to identify every child, keep track of each one at all times and trace their families.
Registration of unaccompanied children has begun
For this purpose large-scale registration is under way. Several thousand children, for instance, have been evacuated to the neighbouring countries of Rwanda and to Europe, where National Red Cross Society tracing services are busy registering them. UNHCR has identified some 3,000 children in the Benaco refugee camp in Tanzania. In Zaire, several hundred children are being identified in the Bukavu area and in Goma by various organizations and institutions. In Rwanda, over 1.400 children are currently being registered by ICRC delegates in the Nyarushishi camps near Cyangugu and at an orphanage in Gisenyi. Cooperation with all these organizations and institutions is going very well, said Alfredo Mallet, the ICRCs Central Tracing Agency coordinator for Rwanda.
Thousands of parents without news of their children
Meanwhile hundreds of parents have already contacted the ICRC and the tracing services of National Red Cross Societies or other organizations in an attempt to find their children or those of relatives who have lost their fives.
Pooling of information indispensable
To find and reunite children, parents or relatives wherever they may be, the ICRC has offered its services to centralize all information in a single data bank. This pooling of information is indispensable to give the parents the best possible chance of finding their children again, explained Coraline de Wurstemberger, a delegate of the ICRCs Central Tracing Agency in Geneva. It also requires good coordination by all concerned, she goes on, since every childs file has to be kept up to date.
The data base thus created already contains the names of almost 900 registered children. It is now being installed in ail the ICRCs offices in Rwanda, the neighbouring countries and Geneva. The information wilt be widely publicized by every means available so that as many children as possible can be restored to their families.
ICRC staff increased
To ensure that the necessary data is collected, centralized and redistributed, the ICRC has increased its expatriate staff in Rwanda: eight delegates have already been assigned to this priority task.