People are separated and forced to flee their homes and even forced into exile in neighboring countries due to the devastating impact of war, conflict, internal violence, natural disasters and migration. At this circumstance, the members of the separated families are unable to ascertain what has happened to their loved ones. People’s well being greatly depends on the ability to stay in touch with their loved ones or to receive information on their fate. The main objective of the Tracing Service of Bangladesh Red Crescent Society is to reduce anxiety by re-establishing family links and to trace out the persons reportedly missing or separated from their families.
The restoring family links between victims of conflict and disaster is one of the longstanding activities of International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. There is an International Tracing Network, to locate lost people and put them back into contact with immediate family members, is active through-out the world. This network is established by all the National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies of the world and the Central Tracing Agency of the ICRC based in Geneva along with their representatives located in various countries. As part of the International Tracing Network the Tracing Service can help a person in Bangladesh to locate a missing family members anywhere in the world. It is a unique service provided free of charge to all who need it. Tracing Department provides its services throughout Bangladesh by using BDRCS Units (Branch) network.
Any-one, in Bangladesh, if loose contact with their family members due to armed conflict, situation of violence, natural disaster or migration, for further assistance he/she may contact with Tracing Department, Bangladesh Red Crescent Society, National Headquarters, 684-686 Red Crescent Road, Bara Moghbazar, Dhaka-1217, Phone No. 88-02-9354296, PABX-9330199-89, Ext. 237 & 223 or Bangladesh Red Crescent Branch Office at the local level.
The Tracing (Restoring Family Links) Department of BDRCS provides following services:
Red Crescent/Cross Message RCM
- When traditional means of communications are interrupted, regular postal service or other means of communication are not available due to a conflict or major disaster, BDRCS offers a unique service that allows family members to stay in contact. Red Crescent/Cross Messages consist of two pages to write family news from the sender at one page and the other page to receive reply from the recipient. It can ease the minds of worried loved ones. Red Crescent/Cross Messages can also be forwarded to persons in detention centers and the detainee has the opportunity to send or reply to Red Crescent/Cross Messages.
- Red Cross Messages contain personal and family news only and the content may be checked by the authorities of the destination countries. Official documents like academic certificate, birth certificate, driving license and family photos can be attached to a Red Cross Message.
- The delivery of the Red Crescent/Cross Messages depends on the situation in conflict or disaster areas and the capacity of the concerned National Society.
- The BDRCS, in every year, sends and receives around 300 to 400 Red Cross Messages.
- RCMs are usually exchanged in Bangladesh through the BDRCS tracing network and in aboard through international tracing network.
- To send a Red Cross Message, any one may contact with the local Red Crescent Branch office.
Click here for sample of a form for a Red Cross Message
Tracing of missing family members outside of Bangladesh
The Bangladesh Red Crescent Society is willing to locate and re-establish contact when a person loose his/her contact with a loved one due to an armed conflict, other situations of violence, migration or a natural disaster. After receiving a formal request from the family, the process involves information collection of the person who is reportedly missing. Tracing requests are accepted for the missing person/s only when it concerns family members separated due to a natural disaster, conflict and migration.
How to trace for some-one who is missing:
For tracing of a missing member, their families may contact with the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS). Following information is required to be furnished regarding the person sought for and enquirer either in an application or completing the Tracing Request forms.
- Full name of sought person
- Date of birth or age
- Father’s name
- Mother’s name
- Last known address
- Tribe, clan and sub-clan (if applicable)
- Date of last contact
- Reason for separation
- Reason for search
- Your full name (Enquirer’s name)
- Your address
- Your relationship to the sought person
Tracing requests are accepted based on:
- The closeness of the relationship
- Reason for loss of contact
- Sufficient information being available to conduct a search
- Attempts made by the inquirer to locate the sought person have been unsuccessful or RCM returned as undelivered.
- The Bangladesh Red Crescent Society endeavors to protect the privacy of all people involved in the search and will not accept cases where the search may put the sought person at risk. The person searched for, if found, always has the right to refuse to release their contact details.
- To submit a Tracing Request, contact your local Red Crescent Branch Office.
Sample of a Tracing request form
Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS) provides necessary assistance to reunite the families, who are separated or displaced due to war, conflict, natural disaster, migration or other reasons after receiving written requests from the concerned families. The BDRCS acts as a mediator between the families and the concerned authorities. The BDRCS facilitates the process by providing necessary papers for official purpose likely as birth certificate, National Identity and also maintains liaison with the International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement. The person may get assistance under this provision who is detained for illegal migration, if there is no legal restriction.
To submit a written request for family reunification, the separated family members may contact directly with Tracing Department of BDRCS at the National Headquarters in Dhaka.