Restoring Family Links: International Day of the Disappeared
Today, August 30, highlights International Day of the Disappeared. As a part of the Red Cross Movement, the Canadian Red Cross along with the International Committee of the Red Cross commemorates all of the people who continue to be reported as missing. As stated in the Geneva Conventions, in an armed conflict, families have the right to know the fate of their relatives.
It is stories like Sadia’s that give people hope when they have become displaced from loved ones. Sadia, a Vancouver resident, lost contact with her younger sister and brother in her home country of Somalia as the country was on the brink of a civil war. Sadia arrived in Vancouver in 1993, escaping the horrific violence that was engulfing her home. While the war was devastating the country, Sadia was forced to flee for her safety, leaving behind most of her family. Before Sadia left Somalia, two of her younger siblings had gone missing. Sadia’s sister, Nacima, was only 10 years old when she left her family and her home. Her brother was only 15.
For years, Sadia had been searching for Nacima and worked tirelessly to get any information she could. After hearing about the Canadian Red Cross Restoring Family Links Program, Sadia contacted the Red Cross office in Burnaby in March 2010 to seek help locating her sister. Working on Sadia’s information that Nacima may have gone to Egypt and may have sought help from the UNHCR, the Red Cross contacted the refugee-serving organization to see if they could help in searching for Nacima. A few weeks went by and, on April 21, 2010, the Red Cross received news that Nacima was indeed registered with the UNHCR in Egypt. Along with the news, Sadia found out her long-lost brother was also registered with the UNHCR in Egypt. Shockingly, Sadia’s siblings had both been in the same city without even knowing it. Sadia immediately put the two in touch so they could reconnect and start piecing their family back together.
In the summer of 2011, Sadia travelled to Egypt to visit her brother and sister for the first time since locating them and because of the Canadian Red Cross Restoring Family Links Program, they were all reunited after almost ten years.
To find out more about the Canadian Red Cross Restoring Family Links program click here.
To find out more about International Day of the Disappeared click here.