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The Netherlands’ repeated attempts to argue for the forcible return of Somalis to areas controlled by the Islamist armed group al-Shabaab exposes them to grave risks of human rights abuses and would be a blatant violation of international law, Amnesty International said in a new briefing published today.
The Dutch government has insisted that Somalis can be forcibly sent to the most perilous areas of the country, including those where al-Shabaab is responsible for unlawful killings, torture and ill-treatment.
More than 130 million children worldwide have no teacher. Hundreds of millions more have teachers who do not have the training, support or conditions to guarantee a good education. Next week, millions of people around the world will do something about this, uniting their voices to call on governments to ensure that every child has a trained teacher - and this is all down to you.
With a week to go until Global Action Week we’re highlighting some of the activities being run by members around the world, as well as updating you on the new international activities and the developments at www.everychildneedsateacher.org to help you with your campaign activities.
About Refugees United and what we do
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Q: 01 Who is behind Refugees United?
Refugees United was founded in Copenhagen, Denmark, by two brothers, David and Christopher Mikkelsen.
The main office is also located in Copenhagen and is supported by a small team of dedicated staff.
Refugees United also has an office in Sao Paulo, which is run by Latin America Manager Alexandra Aparicio.
The Board of Refugees United is a working asset, engaged in much of the daily work. A description of each Board Member can be found here.
Q: 02 How is Refugees United funded?
Refugees United is funded by donations from foundations, corporations and private individuals. We receive no government funding and only accept unconditional donations. Independence remains a top priority. You can see a list of some of our most important partners and supporters here.
If you would like to donate money, please be assured that every cent counts and every dollar is put to good use. If you represent a company and would like to further engage in a partnership with Refugees United, please contact us
Q: 03 How can I help?
You can help in many ways. You can spread the word, donate or sign up for a partnership
Q: 1.0 How does Refugees United help me trace my loved ones?
We help by giving you the opportunity to search for family members in more than 20 languages in the Refugees United database at search.refunite.org (also available via m.refunite.org through your WAP enabled mobile phone). We work hard to maintain and refresh the search tool in order to maximize your chances of reconnecting with your loved ones.
Q: 1.01 Can Refugees United help with physical reunification?
No. We cannot help with physical reunification. For this, contact the local Red Cross Society, the ICRC or the local authorities.
Q: 1.07 Will it ever cost money to register or search?
No. Refunite.org search engine is free of charge. No money or fee will ever be charged to register or search.
Q: 1.08 Why isn’t Refugees United open source yet?
Refugees United was born as an “offline” open source project. When we started, we were two guys (now six guys and a girl in Copenhagen, joined by a much larger team worldwide) with a great idea that had the potential to positively impact thousands, if not millions, of lives. The open source approach came from the fact that we wanted to build the world’s smallest refugee agency with the largest outreach, and to have the highest impact at the lowest cost.
One way to reach our objectives is to work with corporations around that world, including Ericsson, SAP, FedEx and others. The invaluable advice and expertise provided by these successful businesses – both the largest corporations and the smallest companies – have helped us to apply the structure and strategy of business to the passion and vision of an NGO.
Now the time has come for us to apply same structure to our software, and we have begun to collaborate with some of the wonderfully brilliant minds out there who wish to contribute and help us make a difference in the development of our technologies.
Q: 1.09 Does Refugees United have any political or religious affiliations?
No. Refugees United has no political or religious affiliations whatsoever and is completely independent.
Q: 11 What makes Refugees United different from other family tracing agencies?
With refunite.org, refugees take the search into their own hands. There are no forms to fill in and no waiting lists. The power of the search is entirely in the hands of the refugees. Furthermore, it is possible to register anonymously, without giving out a full name, address or any other potentially sensitive information. For example, it is possible to register with initials, village of origin and date of birth, or other markers only identifiable to family and close friends. Another option is to register using only a picture of yourself and a village.
The information is not recorded anywhere, IP addresses will never be logged and therefore no true, physical location can be revealed. Communication between site users is managed in a secure closed-circuit message system, which allows people to share further information through messages only visible to the two parties.
Q: 12 How does Refugees United benefit from this project?
We benefit by contributing to a better world. After we brought two brothers together in Afghanistan, we realized the unnecessary hardship many refugees must endure to find family. There is no reason why refugees should fail to benefit from the conveniences of a connected digital network so many in this world enjoy. We have the will and dedication to succeed. We believe that if the tables were turned you would do the same for us.
Q: 13 What is Refugees United’s relationship to other NGOs?
We consider ourselves a ‘tool’ to be used by other NGOs as well as by refugees themselves. We are seeking to create a global network of people aware of our simple solution to the complex logistical problem of people not being able to find their missing loved ones. To accomplish this, we seek to partner other organizations working towards the same goal.
How the search tool works
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Q: 15 Can all refugees search through refunite.org?
All refugees can use our service. It does not matter if you are a refugee from the wars and turmoil of Iraq, Lebanon or Palestine, or an internally displaced person in Columbia, or still seeking family from when you fled Vietnam or Cambodia decades ago. Every person who has been touched by conflict, disaster or other uprooting factors can utilize our service. You can also search and register if you live "under the radar" as an unregistered citizen, IDP or migrant worker. Refunite.org is for every refugee looking for lost loved ones.
Q: 2.01 How much information do I need to register with and what happens to this information?
At Refugees united we strongly believe that you, the user of our site, is the best judge of what information is appropriate to register with. Remember that information submitted into your public profile can be viewed by anyone. Refugees can register on the Refugees United search site using information such as nicknames, scars, former locations and the like that is recognisable only to family and close friends. The more information you provide, the greater the likelihood of being found. But this goes both ways. If you have any reason to fear being found we encourage you to submit only information that is recognisable by close friends and family.
Q: 2.02 What if I lose the login information for my profile?
If you have registered with an email address we can send you a new username and password if you have lost one or the other. If you have not registered with an email address, it is unfortunately not possible for us to send you a new username and password. If you have lost or forgotten your username or password and you have not registered with and email address, please re-register on Refugees United.
Q: 2.03 What happens if someone contacts me through the site and claims to be my relative? Will they know where to find me?
If someone contacts you, we urge you to ensure that this person is in fact the person you are looking for. You can do this by asking questions that you know only this person could answer. If the person gives you the correct answers, it is up to you to judge whether you feel comfortable about giving out further contact information on your whereabouts and ways to get in contact. You can read more about the security of the platform here. The person contacting you will only be able to see the information you have given for your registration. Nobody can find out anything about your physical location unless you have made these details available.
Q: 2.04 Is there any age limit to registering?
At Refugees United we ask children under 18 years of age not to register. This is to protect minors and keep anyone from being able to search specifically for the most vulnerable.
Q: 2.05 Is it possible to register on behalf of others?
Q: 2.06 I am an unregistered citizen. Can I still use the tracing tool?
Yes. Anyone can use the tracing tool regardless of formal status.
Q: 2.07 I am not officially a refugee. Can I still use the tracing tool?
Yes. Anyone can use the tracing tool regardless of formal status.
Q: 2.08 Can I only search for family through refunite.org?
No. With refunite.org you can look for friends, loved ones, relatives and anyone else you would like to reconnect with.
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Q: 3.0 Is it safe to register?
At Refugees United we take security and privacy very seriously. You can read more about the security of the platform here. Please keep the following in mind: Refugees United is an open platform. Information submitted into your public profile can be viewed by anyone. While we allow and encourage you to register with information that is only recognizable by your closest family, there are situations when even that may put you at risk. Be careful.
Q: 3.01 Does Refugees United share the information I put into the database with anyone else?
No. Only the information you choose to make available will be visible in the search engine. Also, if you engage in a mail correspondence, only the receiver and yourself will have access to the information.
What personal information is collected?
Refugees United lets people register with only the amount of information they choose to and feel comfortable registering with. It is possible to register anonymously without giving out a full name, address or any other potentially sensitive information. For example, it is possible to register with initials, village of origin and date of birth, or other markers only identifiable to family and close friends. Another option is to register using only a picture of yourself and a village.
How is this information used by Refugees United?
Only the information you choose to make available will be visible in the search engine. The information is not recorded anywhere, IP addresses will never be logged and therefore no true, physical location can be revealed. Communication between site users is managed in a secure closed-circuit message system, which allows people to share further information through messages only visible to the two parties.
Information submitted into your public profile can be viewed by anyone.
Refugees United will never:
Sell your personal information.
Use your information to send you marketing and other materials without your permission.
Store and use personally identifying information, except that which was explicitly entered into a profile.
Store information gained from the usage of our website (logs, cookies and tracking information) in such a way that it can be connected to specific user accounts and/or profiles, unless required by law.
Refugees United will make sure to:
Store your information in a safe and secure environment, and ensure that only appropriate staff can access it.
Let you know if there are changes to the way the information is handled.
Have in place a process to allow you to view or amend the information you submit.
Work with our partners to ensure that they live up the same security and privacy standards to which we hold ourselves.
Conduct regular security reviews and reviews of our data retention.
Is this information transferred to third party companies?
While all our partners agree to our Code of Conduct before gaining access to the API, we want to make it clear that use of refunite.org and it's partnership platforms should always be done responsibly. Remember that the information in your profile is publicly accessible. While we allow and encourage you to register with information that is only recognizable by your closest family, there are situations when even that may put you at risk. Be careful.
How to modify or delete personal information
If you want to change or delete your profile on the Refugees United platform, go to www.refunite.org and sign in with your personal username and password. Go to “Edit your profile” to either change information or delete your profile entirely.
How to opt-out of future communications
Refugees United does not currently send or push information to users registered with the service.
Should you receive unwanted messages from other users, use the ‘report abuse’ or ‘block user’ functions when receiving a message at www.refunite.org.
Refugees United accepts no responsibility for and disclaim all liability in connection with browsing this site, use of information on this site and downloading any material from it including, but not limited to, any liability for errors, inaccuracies, omissions or misleading or defamatory statements. Visitors who use this website and rely on any information do so at their own risk. This disclaimer governs your use of our website; by using our website, you accept this disclaimer in full. If you disagree with any part of this disclaimer, do not use our website.
We reserve the right to modify these terms at any time. You should therefore check periodically for changes.
By using this site after we post any changes, you agree to accept those changes, whether or not you have reviewed them.
You must not use our website in any way which is unlawful, illegal, fraudulent or harmful, or in connection with any unlawful, illegal, fraudulent or harmful purpose or activity.
The UN has officially declared two parts of Somalia to be in famine amid the worst drought in east Africa for 60 years. Mark Bowden, humanitarian co-ordinator for Somalia, said on Wednesday, July 20, that famine conditions now existed in the Bakool and Lower Shabelle regions of the country. He warned: "If we don't act now, famine will spread to all eight regions of southern Somalia within two months, due to poor harvests and infectious disease outbreaks. "We still do not have all the resources for food, clean water, shelter and health services to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of Somalis in desperate need." He added that the lack of resources is alarming. "Every day of delay in assistance is literally a matter of life or death for children and their families in the famine-affected areas."