The International Tracing Service (ITS) and the National Tracing Services of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent Movement have strengthened their future cooperation at a joint conference in Bad Arolsen, Germany. The tracing service in Bad Arolsen will continue to be able to benefit from the network of Red Cross societies even after the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) withdraws from the management of the ITS at the end of 2012. “Thanks to the cooperation, we have been able to reconcile numerous families during the past decades which were torn apart as a result of Nazi persecution and deportation,” said ITS director and ICRC delegate Jean-Luc Blondel. “We want to continue with this important task together.”
The week-long meeting in Bad Arolsen, North Hesse, is attended by almost 40 tracing service employees from 21 countries who discuss questions concerning the search for missing family members as a result of war and crisis situations. Hereby, a key issue is also the future role of the ITS within the network of the Red Cross societies. The ICRC and the ITS presented a Memorandum of Understanding on this matter.
Hereby, the ITS will continue to receive support with humanitarian inquiries. In addition, a liaison office will also be established at the ICRC headquarters in Geneva which will be able to liaise, if needed, between the ITS and the National Red Cross Societies in family reunification matters. “We will keep in regular contact. The ITS is an important partner for us due to its many decades of expertise and its extensive documentation,” emphasised Olivier Dubois, deputy head of the Central Tracing Agency at the ICRC in Geneva.
The meeting agenda also included questions on research possibilities in different countries, on communication improvements, data protection guidelines as well as on the processing of search inquiries in adoption cases.