Practice Relating to Rule 105. Respect for Family Life

Geneva Convention IV
Article 26 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV provides:
Each Party to the conflict shall facilitate enquiries made by members of families dispersed owing to the war, with the object of renewing contact with one another and of meeting, if possible. It shall encourage, in particular, the work of organizations engaged on this task provided they are acceptable to it and conform to its security regulations. 
Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, Geneva, 12 August 1949, Article 26.
Additional Protocol I
Article 74 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I provides:
Parties to the conflict shall facilitate in every possible way the reunion of families dispersed as a result of armed conflicts and shall encourage in particular the work of the humanitarian organizations engaged in this task. 
Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), Geneva, 8 June 1977, Article 74. Article 74 was adopted by consensus. CDDH, Official Records, Vol. VI, CDDH/SR.43, 27 May 1977, p. 248.
Additional Protocol II
Article 4(3)(b) of the 1977 Additional Protocol II provides: “All appropriate steps shall be taken to facilitate the reunion of families temporarily separated.” 
Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts (Protocol II), Geneva, 8 June 1977, Article 4(3)(b). Article 4 was adopted by consensus. CDDH, Official Records, Vol. VII, CDDH/SR.50, 3 June 1977, p. 90.
Convention on the Rights of the Child
Article 10 of the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child provides: “Applications by a child or his or her parents to enter or leave a State Party for the purpose of family reunification shall be dealt with by States Parties in a positive, humane and expeditious manner.” 
Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted by the UN General Assembly, Res. 44/25, 20 November 1989, Article 10.
Convention on the Rights of the Child
Article 22(2) of the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child provides:
States Parties shall provide, as they consider appropriate, cooperation in any efforts by the United Nations and other competent intergovernmental organizations or non-governmental organizations cooperating with the United Nations … to trace the parents or other members of the family of any refugee child in order to obtain information necessary for reunification with his or her family. 
Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted by the UN General Assembly, Res. 44/25, 20 November 1989, Article 22(2).
Quadripartite Agreement on Georgian Refugees and IDPs
In the 1994 Quadripartite Agreement on Georgian Refugees and IDPs, the parties agreed that:
In accordance with the fundamental principle of preserving family unity, where it is not possible for families to repatriate as units, a mechanism shall be established for their reunification in Abkhazia. Measures shall also be taken for the identification and extra care/assistance for unaccompanied minors and other vulnerable persons during the repatriation process. 
Quadripartite Agreement on Voluntary Return of Refugees and Displaced Persons in the Republic of Georgia, between the Abkhaz and Georgian Sides, the Russian Federation and UNHCR, Moscow, 4 April 1994, annexed to Letter dated 5 April 1994 from the permanent representative of Georgia to the UN addressed to the President of the Security Council, UN Doc. S/1994/397, 5 April 1994, Annex II.
Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement
Principle 17 of the 1998 Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement provides:
1. Every human being has the right to respect of his or her family life.
2. To give effect to this right for internally displaced persons, family members who wish to remain together shall be allowed to do so.
3. Families which are separated by displacement should be reunited as quickly as possible. All appropriate steps shall be taken to expedite the reunion of such families, particularly when children are involved. The responsible authorities shall facilitate inquiries made by family members and encourage and cooperate with the work of humanitarian organizations engaged in the task of family reunification.
4. Members of internally displaced families whose personal liberty has been restricted by internment or confinement in camps shall have the right to remain together. 
Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, presented to the UN Commission on Human Rights by the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Internally Displaced Persons, UN Doc. E/CN.4/1998/53/Add.2, 11 February 1998, Principle 17.
N’Djamena Declaration on Ending Recruitment and Use of Children by Armed Forces and Groups
In June 2010, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Nigeria, Niger and Sudan adopted the N’Djamena Declaration, reiterated their “concern regarding the precarious situation of children affected by conflict and the consistent presence of children within armed forces and groups in [their] region” and pledged “[t]o facilitate the reunification of families, with and across borders, whenever it is in the best interest of the child.” 
N’Djamena Declaration adopted at the Regional Conference on Ending Recruitment and Use of Children by Armed Forces and Groups: Contributing to Peace, Justice and Development, signed by Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Nigeria, Niger and Sudan, N’Djamena, 7–9 June 2010, Preamble and § 7.
Argentina
Argentina’s Law of War Manual (1969) contains provisions specifying that parties to a conflict must assist members of families to keep in contact and, if possible, facilitate the process of family reunification. 
Argentina, Leyes de Guerra, RC-46-1, Público, II Edición 1969, Ejército Argentino, Edición original aprobado por el Comandante en Jefe del Ejército, 9 May 1967, § 4.009.
Argentina
Argentina’s Law of War Manual (1989) provides:
The High Contracting Parties and the Parties to the conflict shall facilitate in every possible way the reunion of families dispersed as a result of armed conflicts and shall encourage in particular the work of the humanitarian organizations engaged in this task. 
Argentina, Leyes de Guerra, PC-08-01, Público, Edición 1989, Estado Mayor Conjunto de las Fuerzas Armadas, aprobado por Resolución No. 489/89 del Ministerio de Defensa, 23 April 1990, § 4.14.
Australia
Australia’s LOAC Manual (2006) states, with regard to the rights of inhabitants of occupied territory:
The occupying power must … enable all persons in the occupied territory to exchange news of a personal nature with members of their families, whether the latter be in the occupied territory or elsewhere, and shall facilitate inquiries made by families which have been dispersed as a result of the conflict and shall encourage relief organisations seeking to assist in this task. 
Australia, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Doctrine Publication 06.4, Australian Defence Headquarters, 11 May 2006, § 12.29.
The LOAC Manual (2006) replaces both the Defence Force Manual (1994) and the Commanders’ Guide (1994).
Canada
Canada’s LOAC Manual (1999) provides with respect to non-international armed conflicts in particular: “Children are to receive such aid and protection as required including: … b. steps to reunite them with their families”. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Level, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 1999, p. 17-3, § 22.
Canada
Canada’s LOAC Manual (2001), in its chapter on the treatment of civilians in the hands of a party to the conflict or an occupying power, states:
1115. Family correspondence
All persons in the territory of the belligerent or in territory occupied by the belligerent must be enabled to transmit to and receive from members of their families, wherever they may be, news of a strictly personal nature. There must be no undue delay in forwarding such correspondence.
1116. Censorship
This correspondence is liable to censorship by the belligerent concerned. If the belligerents consider it necessary to restrict such correspondence the restrictions must be limited to prescribing the compulsory use of standard forms containing 25 freely chosen words, to be despatched at the rate of not less than one a month.
1117. Family enquiries
Belligerents must facilitate enquiries by members of families dispersed as a result of the war, with the object of renewing contact between them. They must also facilitate the work of approved organizations engaged in this task. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Levels, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 13 August 2001, §§ 1115–1117.
In its chapter on non-international armed conflicts, the manual states: “[The 1977 Additional Protocol II] provides that children are to receive such aid and protection as required including: … b. steps to reunite them with their families”. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Levels, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 13 August 2001, § 1714.1.c.
The manual also provides: “Parties to conflicts are obligated to facilitate the reunion of families dispersed as a result of armed conflicts.” 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Levels, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 13 August 2001, § 1134.
Colombia
Colombia’s Basic Military Manual (1995) provides that in order to guarantee the rights of the civilian population, soldiers shall “facilitate the reuniting of families that have been dispersed by the conflict and permit the exchange of information”. 
Colombia, Derecho Internacional Humanitario – Manual Básico para las Personerías y las Fuerzas Armadas de Colombia, Ministerio de Defensa Nacional, 1995, p. 22.
The manual further states that it is a duty of the parties to “permit the exchange of information within families”. 
Colombia, Derecho Internacional Humanitario – Manual Básico para las Personerías y las Fuerzas Armadas de Colombia, Ministerio de Defensa Nacional, 1995, p. 28.
Regarding respect for the civilian population, the manual specifies that it is a duty “to facilitate the contact and reuniting of families”. 
Colombia, Derecho Internacional Humanitario – Manual Básico para las Personerías y las Fuerzas Armadas de Colombia, Ministerio de Defensa Nacional, 1995, p. 29.
In addition, the manual provides that, when the conflict is over, parties shall “strengthen mechanisms dedicated to reuniting dispersed families”. 
Colombia, Derecho Internacional Humanitario – Manual Básico para las Personerías y las Fuerzas Armadas de Colombia, Ministerio de Defensa Nacional, 1995, p. 31.
Kenya
Kenya’s LOAC Manual (1997) provides: “The Parties to a conflict are to assist members of families to keep in touch with each other and, if possible, to reunite families.” 
Kenya, Law of Armed Conflict, Military Basic Course (ORS), 4 Précis, The School of Military Police, 1997, Précis No. 4, p. 5.
Mexico
Mexico’s Army and Air Force Manual (2009), in a section on the 1949 Geneva Convention IV, states: “Each party to the conflict must facilitate enquiries made by members of families dispersed because of the war, so that they can renew contact with each other and, if possible, be reunited.” 
Mexico, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario para el Ejército y la Fuerza Área Mexicanos, Ministry of National Defence, June 2009, § 218.
Netherlands
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands states:
Persons who, before the beginning of hostilities, were considered Stateless persons or refugees must also be treated as protected persons. In addition, the parties to the conflict must facilitate, in every possible way, the reunion of families dispersed as a result of the conflict. 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0815.
In its chapter on non-international armed conflict, the manual states:
1060. Children must receive the care and help that they need.
1061. This involves … facilitating the reuniting of families whose members have been temporarily separated. 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, §§ 1060–1061.
New Zealand
New Zealand’s Military Manual (1992) recalls the provisions of the 1977 Additional Protocol I and states: that “Parties to the conflict are obliged to facilitate the reunion of families dispersed as a result of armed conflicts.” 
New Zealand, Interim Law of Armed Conflict Manual, DM 112, New Zealand Defence Force, Headquarters, Directorate of Legal Services, Wellington, November 1992, § 1136.
Philippines
The Handbook on Discipline (1989) of the Philippines provides for the punishment of abduction and separation of family members. 
Philippines, Handbook on Discipline, Armed Forces of the Philippines, 1989, p. 16.
Spain
Spain’s LOAC Manual (1996) provides: “The reunion of dispersed families shall be favoured.” 
Spain, Orientaciones. El Derecho de los Conflictos Armados, Publicación OR7-004, 2 Tomos, aprobado por el Estado Mayor del Ejército, Division de Operaciones, 18 March 1996, Vol. I, § 1.3.c.(1).
Spain
Spain’s LOAC Manual (2007) states: “Efforts should also be made to reunite separated families.” 
Spain, Orientaciones. El Derecho de los Conflictos Armados, Tomo 1, Publicación OR7–004, (Edición Segunda), Mando de Adiestramiento y Doctrina, Dirección de Doctrina, Orgánica y Materiales, 2 November 2007, § 1.3.c.(1).
Ukraine
Ukraine’s IHL Manual (2004) states that “all appropriate steps shall be taken to facilitate the reunion of families separated during the armed conflict”. 
Ukraine, Manual on the Application of IHL Rules, Ministry of Defence, 11 September 2004, § 1.4.11.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK Military Manual (1958) states:
Belligerents must facilitate enquiries by members of families dispersed as a result of the war, with the object of renewing contact between them. They must also facilitate the work of approved organizations engaged in this task. 
United Kingdom, The Law of War on Land being Part III of the Manual of Military Law, The War Office, HMSO, 1958, § 38.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK LOAC Manual (2004) states:
The belligerents, and all parties to Additional Protocol I, are required to facilitate in every possible way the reunion of families dispersed as a result of armed conflict, to deal with their enquiries and (subject to security regulations) to facilitate the work of approved organizations engaged in this task. 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 9.11.
United States of America
The US Field Manual (1956) reproduces Article 26 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV. 
United States, Field Manual 27-10, The Law of Land Warfare, US Department of the Army, 18 July 1956, as modified by Change No. 1, 15 July 1976, § 265.
United States of America
The Annotated Supplement to the US Naval Handbook (1997) provides:
The United States supports the principles in [the 1977 Additional Protocol I], Article 74, that nations facilitate in every possible way the reunion of families dispersed as a result of armed conflict and encourage the work of humanitarian organizations engaged in this task. 
United States, Annotated Supplement to the Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations, prepared by the Oceans Law and Policy Department, Center for Naval Warfare Studies, Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, November 1997, § 11.4, footnote 19.
Angola
Angola’s Rules on the Resettlement of Internally Displaced Populations (2001) provides:
It is the responsibility of the Provincial Governments, through the Sub-Groups on Displaced Persons and Refugees of the Provincial Humanitarian Coordination Groups, to carry out the following:
h) To take appropriate measures to ensure family reunification. 
Angola, Rules on the Resettlement of Internally Displaced Populations, 2001, Article 2(h).
Bangladesh
Bangladesh’s International Crimes (Tribunal) Act (1973) states that the “violation of any humanitarian rules applicable in armed conflicts laid down in the Geneva Conventions of 1949” is a crime. 
Bangladesh, International Crimes (Tribunal) Act, 1973, Section 3(2)(e).
Colombia
According to Colombia’s Law on Internally Displaced Persons (1997), the family of forcibly displaced persons must benefit from the right to family reunification. 
Colombia, Law on Internally Displaced Persons, 1997, Article 2(4).
El Salvador
El Salvador’s Decree Creating the Commission for Tracing Missing Children (2004) states:
The President of the Republic of El Salvador
Considering:
ii) That because of the internal armed conflict which El Salvador experienced for more than twelve years, children have become involuntarily separated from their relatives;
iii) That family reunification and reestablishing the identity of these minors constitute a right …
Therefore:
By using its constitutional powers,
Decrees:
1. The establishment of the Inter-institutional Commission for Tracing Children who Disappeared as a Result of the Armed Conflict in El Salvador … which has the objective to collaborate with the public institutions involved with or in charge of the protection of children in the search for the children who have become involuntarily separated from their families, and to further the reunification with their close relatives based on the best interests of the child. 
El Salvador, Decree Creating the Commission for Tracing Missing Children, 2004, Preamble and Article 1.
El Salvador
El Salvador’s Decree Creating the National Commission for Tracing Missing Children (2010) states:
Art. 1.- The National Commission for Tracing Girls and Boys Missing during the Internal Armed Conflict, which will be referred to as “Commission” or “Tracing Commission” hereinafter.
Art. 2.- The Commission shall have as its main objective … to promote the reunion [of girls and boys that went missing] with their families, with all due respect to the dignity of victims.
Art. 3.- The Commission shall have the mandate to:
e) Seek to guarantee the restitution of family relations between the person that as a boy or girl was subject to a disappearance, and his or her biological relatives. 
El Salvador, Decree Creating the National Commission for Tracing Missing Children, 2010, Articles 1–3(e).
Article 4
The [Georgia Red Cross] Society performs its activities in accordance with the Constitution of Georgia, the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and their Additional Protocols, the present law, other legislative and secondary normative acts and the statute of the Society.
Article 7
The Georgia Red Cross Society –
Guinea
Guinea’s Children’s Code (2008) states:
Competent Guinean authorities shall help international organizations tasked with protecting and assisting refugees with their efforts … to find the parents or close relatives of unaccompanied refugee Children in order to obtain the necessary information for reuniting them with their families. 
Guinea, Children’s Code, 2008, Article 434.
Ireland
Ireland’s Geneva Conventions Act (1962), as amended in 1998, provides that any “minor breach” of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, including violations of Article 26 of the Geneva Convention IV, and of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, including violations of Article 74, as well as any “contravention” of the 1977 Additional Protocol II, including violations of Article 4(3)(b), are punishable offences. 
Ireland, Geneva Conventions Act, 1962, as amended in 1998, Section 4(1) and (4).
Lithuania
Lithuania’s Criminal Code (1961), as amended in 1998 punishes as a “violation of the norms of international humanitarian law in time of war, an armed conflict or under the conditions of occupation or annexation: … separation of children from their parents or guardians”. 
Lithuania, Criminal Code, 1961, as amended in 1998, Article 336.
Norway
Norway’s Military Penal Code (1902), as amended in 1981, provides:
Anyone who contravenes or is accessory to the contravention of provisions relating to the protection of persons or property laid down in … the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 … [and in] the two additional protocols to these Conventions …is liable to imprisonment. 
Norway, Military Penal Code, 1902, as amended in 1981, § 108.
Philippines
The Act on Child Protection (1992) of the Philippines provides:
All appropriate steps shall be taken to facilitate the reunion of families temporarily separated due to armed conflict …
Whenever possible, members of the same family shall be housed in the same premises and given separate accommodation from other evacuees and be provided with facilities to lead a normal family life. 
Philippines, Act on Child Protection, 1992, Sections 22(f) and 23.
No data.
Belgium
In 2004, in its initial report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child under the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, Belgium stated: “In a war situation, children often become separated from their parents. Family reunification is a crucial factor in the demobilization process.” 
Belgium, Initial report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child under the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, 15 August 2005, UN Doc. CRC/C/OPAC/BEL/1, submitted 30 March 2004, § 73(b).
Burundi
In 2008, in its second periodic report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, Burundi stated:
187. In addition to the reasons enumerated in article 9, paragraph 4, of the Convention, separation [of children from their parents] may also result from armed conflicts that have led to mass internal and transboundary population movements.
188. In Burundi, the persistence of the crisis has resulted in internal and transboundary population movements. These movements have tended to stabilize since 2003, following the signing of the ceasefire agreements between the Government and the National Council for the Defence of Democracy – Force for the Defence of Democracy (CNDD-FDD). During the period under consideration, the Government, with the cooperation of donors (UNHCR, UNICEF and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)), launched a number of programmes to promote family reunification.
189. In keeping with the principle of maintaining family unity, children separated from their parents following an emergency situation, such as an armed conflict … , must be reunified with their family as soon as possible. They may leave the country or enter it for this purpose.
190. In cases of separation resulting from armed conflicts … , the guidelines of international bodies and NGOs (UNHCR, UNICEF, ICRC, the International Rescue Committee (IRC), Save the Children and World Vision International) concerning unaccompanied and separated children recommend rapidly identifying such children and proceeding without delay to look for the family, the goal being reunification. During the period under consideration, the six bodies present in Burundi and in neighbouring countries collaborated closely with the Governments concerned to meet this challenge. 
Burundi, Second periodic report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, 7 January 2010, UN Doc. CRC/C/BDI/2, submitted 17 July 2008, §§ 187–190.
Burundi also stated:
295. In addition to experiencing the flight of its populations to other countries, Burundi has also taken in refugees from its neighbours, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda. Children account for the largest percentage of these refugees …
299. The following measures are taken with regard to unaccompanied, separated or orphaned children:
- Unaccompanied repatriated children are looked after and an attempt is made to reunify them with their families. 
Burundi, Second periodic report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, 7 January 2010, UN Doc. CRC/C/BDI/2, submitted 17 July 2008, §§ 295 and 299.
Djibouti
In 2011, in the History and Geography Textbook for 9th Grade, Djibouti’s Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training stated:
States shall facilitate as much as possible the reunion of families dispersed because of armed conflict and shall encourage the work of humanitarian organizations engaged in this task … (Additional Protocol I of 1977, article 74)
Each Party to the conflict shall facilitate enquiries made by members of families dispersed owing to the war, with the object of renewing contact with one another and of meeting, if possible. The parties to a conflict shall encourage, in particular, the work of organizations engaged in this task …. (Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, article 26)
IHL provides for measures to restore and maintain family links, including family reunification. 
Djibouti, Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training, History and Geography Textbook for 9th Grade, 2011, pp. 226–227.
El Salvador
In 2002, in its second periodic report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, El Salvador stated: “By 1996 a total of 323 children had been recorded as having disappeared as a result of the armed conflict. Of the 29 children who had been traced, 22 had been reunited with their families.” 
El Salvador, Second periodic report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, 22 October 2003, UN Doc. CRC/65/Add.25, submitted 10 July 2002, § 506.
El Salvador
In 2003, during the consideration of the third periodic report of El Salvador before the Human Rights Committee, a representative of El Salvador stated:
[T]he Asociación Pro-búsqueda de Niñas y Niños Desaparecidos [Association for the Tracing of Disappeared Children] … submitted preliminary draft legislation to Parliament in 1999 for the establishment of a national commission to investigate the disappearance of children during the armed conflict and to identify those responsible. The Family Committee of the Legislative Assembly … [took] steps to obtain a cross-section of views of civil society on the matter. An advisory forum … [was] established but its findings … failed to secure the requisite support in the Legislative Assembly for the association’s proposal. An agenda for action … [was] drawn up for the Office of the Procurator-General but it contained no new proposals. The association … therefore opted to continue with its own work, which had enabled many children to be reunited with their families. In 1999, the Ministry of Internal Affairs … recognized it as a legally constituted organization. State institutions … assisted in the investigation of specific cases, maintaining contacts and holding meetings with representatives of the association. Two cases of disappeared children … [were] considered by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The hearings … [were] attended by representatives of the State and the association, and measures that might be taken to resolve the cases … [were] discussed. The principal investigating body was the Office of the Attorney-General. Some 200 missing young people … [have] been found and the State … [has] taken steps to establish their identity and promote family reunification. No decision … [has] been taken to date on the creation of a compensation fund for young people who … [have] been found. 
El Salvador, Statement by the delegation of El Salvador before the Human Rights Committee during the consideration of the third periodic report of El Salvador, 31 July 2003, UN Doc. CCPR/C/SR.2114, § 15.
Germany
In 2005, in its Seventh Human Rights Policy Report, Germany’s Federal Government reported to the Bundestag (Lower House of Parliament):
With the 1998 guidelines on the handling of crises related to internally displaced persons (“Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement”) by the then Representative of the UN Secretary-General on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, Francis Deng, the international community has a practice-oriented document, which summarizes existing standards on the protection of internally displaced persons and gives further recommendations. Although these guiding principles are not a binding instrument under international law, their acceptance by States, international organizations and NGOs has continued to grow over the past years, so that now they are virtually regarded as customary international law. 
Germany, Federal Government, Seventh Human Rights Policy Report, 17 June 2005, pp. 97–98.
Guatemala
In 2003, in its fourth periodic report to the Committee against Torture, Guatemala stated:
As recommended by the Historical Clarification Commission which arose out of the peace agreements, a National Commission to Search for Missing Children has been set up. It is supported by the Office of the … [Ombudsman] for Human Rights and is made up of a number of bodies that work in coordination, including: the Human Rights Office of the Archdiocese of Guatemala, the Office of the Children’s Ombudsman, the Asociación Casa Alianza Guatemalateca, the Liga Guatemalteca de Higiene Menta (Guatemalan mental health league), the Grupo Monseñor Romero, the Legal Action Centre for Human Rights, the Widows’ National Coordinating Committee, the Mutual Support Group, the Rigoberta Menchú Foundation, the Asociación Dónde están los Niños y las Niñas (Where are the children association) and the Centro de Investigación Internacional de Derechos Humanos (International human rights research centre). The commission’s mission is to support, promote and reinforce efforts to document cases, track down children and reunite families; it will also give impetus to efforts to obtain justice, assistance and reparation, and to legal actions to help along the searches for missing children. 
Guatemala, Fourth periodic report to the Committee against Torture, 27 May 2005, UN Doc. CAT/C/74/Add.1, submitted 8 December 2003, § 48.
Guinea
In 2009, in its second periodic report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, Guinea stated:
471. Guinea has been greatly affected by the civil wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone that have raged since 24 December 1989. Faithfully observing international human rights agreements, the [1989] Convention [on the Rights of the Child] and the [1990] African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, Guinea has generously opened its doors to more than half a million refugees, including more than 305,000 children and young persons under 18 years of age (or 61 per cent of the refugee population), traumatized and hounded by a war that threatens their survival. They have been given shelter throughout the national territory, but especially in Guinée Forestière.
475. This situation has also given rise to … separated children from their families. A study conducted in November 1999 by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) has helped to identify and document 252 separated children on the streets of Conakry. … Many children who were separated from their families as they fled were taken in by the refugee families. Some were taken by Guinean families on their arrival in Guinea.
477. … IRC puts the number of separated children living in Guinea at more than 10,000.
482. Action taken:
- Establishment of a family tracing and reunification programme for separated children. 
Guinea, Second periodic report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, 18 April 2012, UN Doc. CRC/C/GIN/2, submitted 24 December 2009, §§ 471, 475, 477 and 482.
Liberia
In 2009, in its combined second, third and fourth periodic reports to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, Liberia stated:
Since the end of the war, the Government and its partners have been engaged in family reunification programmes for those children that were separated from their parents or homes … A 2007 study found that 99 per cent of demobilised children were reunified with their families. 
Liberia, Combined second, third and fourth periodic reports to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, 9 November 2011, UN Doc. CRC/C/LBR/2-4, submitted 5 August 2009, § 173.
Republic of Korea
A resolution adopted by the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea in December 1998 urged cooperation between the authorities in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and in the Republic of Korea in reuniting separated family members and proposed that the National Red Cross Societies in each region proceed with their work on family reunification. 
Republic of Korea, Resolution Calling for the Confirmation of Life or Death and the Reunion of Members of Separated Families in South and North Korea, 198th Regular Session, 1 December 1998.
Rwanda
In 2003, in its second periodic report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, Rwanda stated:
B. Preservation of identity
163. In an effort to re-establish the identity of more than 14 000 children in 86 CLCs [Centres for Lone Children] after the genocide of 1994 as speedily as possible, the Rwandan Government, supported by the United Nations and non-governmental organizations, established family reunification and tracing programmes. Many children have been able to find their families again and, at the end of 2001, only 3 500 lone children were still being housed in 26 CLCs. These are chiefly small children, collectively known as “no known address”, whose age prevents identification. The technique of photo tracing developed jointly by UNICEF and the International Committee of the Red Cross has had some success in seeking the families of the “no known address” children. In addition, each CLC has identification files for every child.
F. Children deprived of a family environment
196. The war situation that Rwanda experienced in 1990, the genocide of 1994 and the resulting internal and external migrations had disastrous consequences in both material and human terms, and many children were separated from their families.
197. The Government has developed a family tracing and reunification programme. Its implementation has been supported by UNICEF, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and national and international non-governmental organizations, and it has been possible to reunite most lone children with their parents. According to a study carried out by MINALOC [Ministry of Local Administration and Social Affairs], UNICEF and Save the Children, which quotes ICRC, 67 119 children had been reunited with their families in May 2000, and 3 658 had been spontaneously reintegrated into foster families. In principle, no effort is spared to reunite the child with the members of his extended family, or to place him in another volunteer family (family reintegration). Although these cases of family reintegration are not legalized by any law, the Government has drawn up an official document setting out the conditions and procedures for such cases that protects the rights of reintegrated children. The selection criteria for host families are very specific, the best candidates being determined by social committees at the local level. Among non-governmental organizations, International Social Service (ISS) was able to place 800 children in host families between 1996 and 2000, while Concern placed 322 children between 1994 and 1999. It should be emphasized that social officers of the non-governmental organizations concerned and of the Ministry responsible for social affairs supervise the entire process and are responsible for its monitoring.
198. There have been many cases of spontaneous reintegration without the participation of any agency or ministerial institution. Unfortunately, recent studies on the situation of orphans and reintegration have shown that the monitoring phase is not properly carried out, hence the risk that the rights of some reintegrated children may be violated.
199. Children whose families have not been found and who have not been reintegrated in foster families continue to live in CLCs. The amount allocated to CLCs by MINALOC from the regular budget in the budget year 2001 is about 42 million Rwandan francs. In 1996, 86 CLCs housing some 14 000 children were in operation. At the end of 2001 only 26 CLCs housing about 3 500 lone children, made up of orphans and children separated from their families, remained.
200. The decline in the number of CLCs since 1996 is the consequence of the implementation of the national policy for lone children, based on the principle “One child, one family”, and the national mobilization to promote fostering of children in CLCs. This principle stems from the central theme chosen at the fourth Day of the African Child, celebrated on 16 June 1995. Efforts are continuing in this direction as much as they are in the area of family tracing and reunification.
4. Lone children living abroad
327. Following the genocide and massacres of 1994, many children went to various foreign countries. The Rwandan Government continues to repatriate them. Data gathered between 1 January 200 and 30 June 2001 showed 30 874 repatriated persons who had not passed through the MINALOC transit centres, of which 15 603 were children accompanied by their parents and 571 were lone minors. The lone minors were immediately sent to CLCs and are being identified and registered for family tracing. 
Rwanda, Second periodic report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Doc CRC/C/70Add.22, 8 October 2003, §§ 163, 196–200 and 327.
Rwanda
In 2010, in its initial report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child under the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, Rwanda stated:
133. … [A]ctivities in the demobilization camp [for former child soldiers] are accompanied by Family Tracing, i.e. the research for families or families close to the children since the centre only serves as [a] transit place. The National policy on the matter is that every child should have a family. Family Tracing is carried out in collaboration with [the] ICRC which must each time obtain the opinion of the child.
134. The … [former] child soldier who has just been demobilized may reintegrate the civil life through various options:
(a) Handing over the child to its parents (father and mother) or to the one of the two surviving parents (ideal option);
135. Of all these options, ex-soldier children reintegrated until now were received by their families (nuclear or extended family). For children whose families were traced, there exists a reunification ceremony to which local authorities and the surrounding community are invited.
143. Children targeted by this programme are Rwandan children recruited by armed militia operating in DRC [Democratic Republic of the Congo]. There is also a Burundian child who was repatriated in 2006 and who belonged to FNL [Forces Nationales de Libération]. The family of this child was traced and the child reunified. 
Rwanda, Initial report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child under the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, 6 December 2011, UN Doc. CRC/C/OPAC/RWA/1, submitted 20 January 2010, §§ 133, 134(a), 135 and 143.
[footnote in original omitted]
146. Following the war and the 1994 Genocide of Tutsis, there are children who have been separated from their families. The efforts made by Rwanda to reunify these children with their families have been mentioned in the initial report. The process of reuniting children with their families continues in collaboration with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). In this connection, announcements related to children in search of their families are regularly broadcast on national radio station. In these announcements, anyone who recognizes a child among those whose names are mentioned on radio is requested to notify ICRC that takes steps to reunite the child with his family.
147. ICRC works also with Rwanda Demobilisation and Reintegration Commission in tracing the families of Rwandan children involved in armed conflicts in DRC returning to their country.
Sierra Leone
In 2006, in its second periodic report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, Sierra Leone stated that, following the end of the civil conflict in January 2002: “An exit strategy for children was … created through the Family Tracing and Reunification (FTR) programme to trace and reunite lost and found children with their families/guardians or relations.” 
Sierra Leone, Second periodic report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, 8 September 2006, UN Doc. CRC/C/SLE/2, § 268.
Somalia
In 2011, in its report to the Human Rights Council, Somalia stated:
Somalia has not ratified AP II [1977 Additional Protocol II] and it is therefore not directly applicable to Somalia as a matter of treaty law. The Government is aware that many provisions of AP II represent customary IHL rules and therefore apply to the situation in Somalia. Such provisions include Article 4 providing guarantees to persons taking no active part in hostilities … due to the fact that these norms are reflected in Common Article 3 of the [1949] Geneva Conventions. 
Somalia, Report to the Human Rights Council, 11 April 2011, UN Doc. A/HRC/WG.6/11/SOM/1, § 75.
Sri Lanka
In 2008, in its combined third and fourth periodic reports to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, Sri Lanka stated:
345. The Government is finalizing an amendment to Emergency Regulations to deal with the situation of child surrendees – Emergency (Miscellaneous Provisions and Powers) Regulation No. 1 of 2005. The amendment will provide for … [their] appearance before a Magistrate …
346. The Magistrate is required to make a determination regarding the placement of the child … with a view to effecting family reunification or placing him or her with extended family having due regard to the safety of the child and family. 
Sri Lanka, Combined third and fourth periodic reports to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, 20 January 2010, UN Doc. CRC/C/LKA/3-4, submitted 24 October 2008, §§ 345–346.
Sri Lanka
In 2009, in its combined third and fourth periodic reports to the Committee against Torture, Sri Lanka stated:
70. His Excellency the President, by Regulation dated 12 September 2006, appointed a Commissioner General of Rehabilitation (CGR) who is entrusted with specific responsibilities in relation to all “surrendees” of the ongoing conflict which include adults and children. …
71. In terms of this Regulation, the CGR in consultation with the district secretary, Provincial Commissioner of Probation and Child Care and Services and the NCPA [National Child Protection Authority] will identify protective accommodation and rehabilitation centres for the purpose of receiving Child surrendees. …
72. … An immediate step at the centre is to reunite such surrendees particularly the children with their parents. 
Sri Lanka, Combined third and fourth periodic reports to the Committee against Torture, 23 September 2010, UN Doc. CAT/C/LKA/3-4, submitted 17 August 2009, §§ 70–72.
United States of America
In 1987, the Deputy Legal Adviser of the US Department of State affirmed: “We support the principle that … states facilitate in every possible way the reunion of families dispersed as a result of armed conflicts.” 
United States, Remarks of Michael J. Matheson, Deputy Legal Adviser, US Department of State, Sixth Annual American Red Cross-Washington College of Law Conference on International Humanitarian Law: A Workshop on Customary International Law and the 1977 Protocols Additional to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, American Journal of International Law and Policy, Vol. 2, 1987, p. 427.
United States of America
According to the Report on US Practice, “Articles 4, 5 and 6 [of the 1977 Additional Protocol II] reflect general US policy on treatment of persons in the power of an adverse party in armed conflicts governed by common Article 3” of the 1949 Geneva Conventions. The report also notes: “It is the opinio juris of the US that persons detained in connection with an internal armed conflict are entitled to humane treatment as specified in Articles 4, 5 and 6 [of the 1977 Additional Protocol II].” 
Report on US Practice, 1997, Chapter 5.3.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 1996, the UN General Assembly:
Calls upon States and United Nations bodies and other organizations to ensure the early identification and registration of unaccompanied refugee and internally displaced children and to give priority to programmes for family tracing and reunification. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 51/77, 12 December 1996, Section III, § 42, adopted without a vote.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 1997, the UN General Assembly:
Expresses its deep concern about the growing number of unaccompanied refugee and internally displaced children, and calls upon all States and United Nations bodies and agencies to ensure the early identification and registration of unaccompanied refugee and internally displaced children, to give priority to programmes for family tracing and reunification, and to continue monitoring the care arrangements for unaccompanied refugee and internally displaced children. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 52/107, 12 December 1997, Section V, § 3, adopted without a vote.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 1998, the UN General Assembly:
Expresses its deep concern about the growing number of unaccompanied refugee and internally displaced children, and calls upon all States and United Nations bodies and agencies to ensure the early identification and registration of unaccompanied refugee and internally displaced children, to give priority to programmes for family tracing and reunification and to continue to monitor the care arrangements for unaccompanied refugee and internally displaced children.  
UN General Assembly, Res. 53/128, 9 December 1998, Section V, § 3, adopted without a vote.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 2004 on the rights of the child, the UN General Assembly called upon all States “to give priority to family tracing and reunification and, where appropriate, to cooperate with international humanitarian and refugee organizations, including by facilitating their work”. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 59/261, 23 December 2004, § 35, voting record: 166-2-1-22.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 2005 on the rights of the child, the UN General Assembly called upon all States “to give priority to family tracing and family reunification and, where appropriate, to cooperate with international humanitarian and refugee organizations, including by facilitating their work”. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 60/231, 23 December 2005, § 22, voting record: 130-1-0-60.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 2006 on the rights of the child, the UN General Assembly called upon all States “to give priority to family tracing and family reunification and, where appropriate, to cooperate with international humanitarian and refugee organizations, including by facilitating their work”. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 61/146, 19 December 2006, § 25, voting record: 185-1-0-6.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 2007 on the rights of the child, the UN General Assembly called upon all States “to give priority to family tracing and family reunification and, where appropriate, to cooperate with international humanitarian and refugee organizations, including by facilitating their work”. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 62/141, 18 December 2007, § 29, voting record: 183-1-0-8.
UN Commission on Human Rights
In a resolution adopted in 1997, the UN Commission on Human Rights called upon all States:
(a) To protect refugee and internally displaced children, including through policies for their care, well-being and development, with the necessary international cooperation, in particular with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the United Nations Children’s Fund and the International Committee of the Red Cross;
(b) And United Nations bodies and agencies to ensure the early identification and registration of unaccompanied refugee and internally displaced children, to give priority to programmes for family tracing and reunification, and to continue monitoring the care arrangements for unaccompanied refugee and internally displaced children;
(c) And other parties to armed conflicts to recognize the particular vulnerability of refugee and internally displaced children to recruitment into armed forces and to sexual violence, exploitation and abuse, stresses the special vulnerability of child-headed households and calls upon Governments and United Nations bodies to give these situations urgent attention and to enhance protection and assistance mechanisms;
(d) To involve women and youth in the design, delivery and monitoring of measures to protect them against sexual violence and recruitment of children into armed forces. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 1997/78, 18 April 1997, § 16, adopted without a vote.
UN Commission on Human Rights
In a resolution adopted in 1998, the UN Commission on Human Rights called upon all States:
And United Nations bodies and agencies, in coordination with other international humanitarian organizations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, to ensure the early identification and registration of unaccompanied refugee and internally displaced children, to give priority to programmes for family tracing and reunification, and to continue monitoring the care arrangements for unaccompanied refugee and internally displaced children, taking into account the 1997 guidelines on policies and procedures in dealing with unaccompanied children seeking asylum of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 1998/76, 22 April 1998, § 17(b), adopted without a vote.
UN Commission on Human Rights
In a resolution adopted in 2003 on the rights of the child, the UN Commission on Human Rights:
Calls upon all States to protect refugee, asylum-seeking and internally displaced children, in particular those who are unaccompanied, who are particularly exposed to risks in connection with armed conflict … to give priority to family tracing and reunification and, where appropriate, to cooperate with international humanitarian and refugee organizations. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 2003/86, 25 April 2003, 32, adopted without a vote.
UN Commission on Human Rights
In a resolution adopted in 2005 on the rights of the child, the UN Commission on Human Rights:
26. Calls upon all States to protect refugee, asylumseeking and internally displaced children, in particular those who are unaccompanied, who are particularly exposed to risks in connection with armed conflict and post-conflict situations, such as recruitment, sexual violence and exploitation, to pay particular attention to programmes for voluntary repatriation and, wherever possible, local integration and resettlement, to give priority to family tracing and reunification and, where appropriate, to cooperate with international humanitarian and refugee organizations;
27. Calls upon all States:
(d) To ensure that, if they are arrested, detained or imprisoned, children are provided with adequate legal assistance and that they shall have the right to maintain contact with their family through correspondence and visits, save in exceptional circumstances. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 2005/44, 19 April 2005, §§ 26 and 27(d), voting record: 52-1-0.
UN Commission on Human Rights
In a resolution adopted in 2004 on the rights of the child, the UN Commission on Human Rights:
Calls upon all States to protect refugee, asylumseeking and internally displaced children, in particular those who are unaccompanied, who are particularly exposed to risks in connection with armed conflict, such as recruitment, sexual violence and exploitation, to pay particular attention to programmes for voluntary repatriation and, wherever possible, local integration and resettlement, to give priority to family tracing and reunification and, where appropriate, to cooperate with international humanitarian and refugee organizations. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 2004/48, 20 April 2004, § 32, voting record: 52-1-0.
UN Secretary-General
In 1996, in a report on the impact of armed conflict on children, the UN Secretary-General noted:
A substantial body of rules and standards already confirms the principle of family reunion, whether children are separated from parents by armed conflict or other events. In practice, however, reunification is often frustrated or protracted, resulting in further psychological damage to children and their families. 
UN Secretary-General, Impact of armed conflict on children, Report prepared by the expert appointed pursuant to UN General Assembly Resolution 48/157 (1993), UN Doc. E/CN.4/1996/110, 5 February 1996, § 44.
UNHCR Executive Committee
In 1981, in a Conclusion on Family Reunification, the UNHCR Executive Committee stressed that “every effort should be made to ensure the reunification of separated families”. 
UNHCR, Executive Committee, Conclusion No. 24 (XXXII): Family Reunification, 22 October 1981, § 1.
No data.
International Conference of the Red Cross (1986)
The 25th International Conference of the Red Cross in 1986 adopted a resolution on protection of children in armed conflict in which it recommended that “according to the Geneva Conventions and the two Additional Protocols, all necessary measures be taken to preserve the unity of the family and to facilitate the reuniting of families”. 
25th International Conference of the Red Cross, Geneva, 23–31 October 1986, Res. IX, § 5.
International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (1995)
The 26th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in 1995 adopted a resolution on protection of the civilian population in period of armed conflict in which it stated that it:
(a) demands that all parties to armed conflict avoid any action aimed at, or having the effect of, causing the separation of families in a manner contrary to international humanitarian law;
(b) appeals to States to do their utmost to solve the serious humanitarian issue of dispersed families without delay
(c) emphasizes that family reunification must begin with the tracing of separated family members at the request of one of them and end with their coming together as a family;
(d) stresses the particular vulnerability of children separated from their families as a result of armed conflict, and invites the ICRC, the National Societies and the International Federation, within the scope of their respective mandates, to intensify their efforts to locate unaccompanied children, to identify them, to re-establish contact and reunite them with their families, and to give them the necessary assistance and support;
(e) notes that the form of a family may vary from one culture to the other, recognizes the aspiration of separated families to be reunited and appeals to States to apply criteria for family reunification in such a way that they take into account the situation of those family members who are most vulnerable;
(f) requests that the legal status of family members in a host country be determined swiftly and in a humanitarian spirit, with a view to ensuring the facilitation of family reunification;
(g) calls upon States to facilitate the tracing activities of their respective National Red Cross or Red Crescent Societies by granting them access to the relevant data;
(h) encourages National Societies to maximize their efficiency in carrying out tracing work and family reunifications by strengthening their tracing and social welfare activities and maintaining close cooperation with the ICRC, government authorities and other competent organizations, such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) involved in such work;
(i) calls upon States to support National Societies in carrying out such tracing work and family reunifications;
(j) commends the role of the ICRC’s Central Tracing Agency (CTA) in tracing and reuniting family members, and encourages the CTA to continue to coordinate, whenever necessary, National Society activities in tracing and reuniting families and to train National Society staff in the principles and techniques of tracing. 
26th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, Geneva, 3–7 December 1995, Res. II, § D(a)–(j).
Committee on the Rights of the Child
In 1997, in its concluding observations on the report of Myanmar, the Committee on the Rights of the Child stated that the State should reinforce its central tracing agency to favour family reunification. 
Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding observations on the report of Myanmar, UN Doc. CRC/C/15/Add.69, 24 January 1997, §§ 40–41.
European Court of Human Rights
In several cases, the European Court of Human Rights addressed the issue of family unity and held that Article 8 of the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights included a right for parents to have measures taken with a view to them being reunited with their children and an obligation for national authorities to take such measures. According to the Court, preventing parents from living with their children amounted to interference with the right to respect for family life. 
European Court of Human Rights, Eriksson case, Judgment, 22 June 1989, p. 26, § 71; Andersson v. Sweden, Judgment, 25 February 1992, p. 30, § 91; Rieme v. Sweden, Judgment, 22 April 1992, §§ 55, 56 and 69; Olsson v. Sweden, Judgment, 27 November 1992, pp. 35–36, § 90; Hokkanen v. Finland, Judgment, 23 September 1994; Gül v. Switzerland, Judgment, 19 February 1996, p. 14.
No data.
Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM)
The SPLM Human Rights Charter provides: “Children have the right not to be separated from their families and to be reunited with them.” 
SPLM, Human Rights Charter, May 1996, § 6.