Red Cross Message Form

Date / Period
Object Type
Books, Guides and Manuals
International Federation of the Red Cross, Canadian Red Cross
Refugee and Migration

Under international law, all people have the right to know the fate of their loved ones, and to correspond and communicate with family members. The Geneva Conventions of 1949 established the Red Cross as the provider of protections for prisoners of war, detainees, and civilians impacted by war. That includes tracing, communications, and family reunification.

Along with all 190 Red Cross societies from around the world, the Canadian Red Cross protects this right and facilitates communication with family members through its Restoring Family Links (RFL) program.

The search begins by filing an international tracing request for the missing family members. Clients may also send Red Cross Messages, which provide contact (and a sense of hope) to those detained or trapped in a conflict zone. As content may be reviewed by officials in the countries are being sent to, messages are limited to family news only. Annually, over 700 people seek help through RFL, and around 150-200 messages are delivered.

"Until the last day of my life, I will remember what the Red Cross has done for me."

Among the many reunions accomplished over the years was that of Naderah Shirzad’s family. When her husband Shah Mohammed vanished in 1997, she fled Afghanistan with her children to a refugee camp in Iran. Arriving in Canada in 2002, Naderah was contacted by the Red Cross a year later when they received a tracing request from the Netherlands Red Cross. She was stunned to discover that her husband, who she thought was dead, was in Europe. He had fled to Pakistan, then went to the Netherlands as a refugee, where he learned the family’s possible whereabouts. 

“It’s only when I received his contact information from the Red Cross did I really believe it was true that he really was alive,” Naderah noted. “It really is there for the ill and poor people affected by war. Until the last day of my life, I will remember what the Red Cross has done for me.”

The Canadian Red Cross has played a role in restoring contact between families separated as a result of migration, conflict and other humanitarian crises since 1914, when the Canadian Red Cross set up a National Information Bureau based in London in to support tracing and detention visits to Canadians serving in World War I. Records also indicate that the Canadian Red Cross played a role in transmitting news of the fate of people affected by the Halifax explosion of 1917.

As for the conflict which led to RFL, the loose ends of the Second World War are still being handled. Beyond restoring contact between family members, requests include documentation regarding forced labour, internment, and other war records.

Red Cross Message Form

Support Red Cross Message Form 1
Support Red Cross Message Form 2
Support Red Cross Message Form 3

Stay Informed & Stay Connected