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Digital platform for migrants launched

BY STYLE REPORTER

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has launched a free digital humanitarian platform for people affected by migration, armed conflict, and other situations of violence to safely store copies of passports, medical records and other important paperwork.

The application is being piloted by the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society (ZRCS) and the South African Red Cross Society (SARCS), with technical and financial support from ICRC.

“As part of the global Red Cross Movement, the ZRCS continues to offer the restoration of family links programme, which seeks to prevent family separation, restore and maintain family contact, reunite families and clarify the fate of missing persons by offering the following services for free Red Cross messages, Wi-Fi services, tracing of loved ones, phone call services, trace the face, RedSafe mobile app and phone charging,” said Elias Hwenga, ZRCS secretary-general.

RedSafe contains two services — one is a digital vault for storage of personal documents that can be available offline and downloaded when needed. The app complies with ICRC data protection standards.

The second service contains trusted and reliable information about humanitarian assistance available for migrants and refugees.

“The innovative project helps us to maintain proximity to affected communities and always be accessible to them,” said Marie-Astrid Blondiaux, the protection coordinator for the ICRC Regional Delegation in Pretoria.

“The coronavirus pandemic highlighted the importance of having a trusted digital connection to the people we serve when physical contact is not possible.”

Affected populations are increasingly turning to online sources or social media for help, exposing them to new risks. People in distress need trusted information that is available quickly.

They require a safe alternative to commercial online platforms which are not always reliable in terms of content and misuse of data and surveillance.

Partner organisations featured on RedSafe expressed confidence at the impact it would have on migrant communities.

“The RedSafe platform will be useful to migrants and refugee seekers in many ways,” said Shelton Chiyangwa, secretary general at the Zimbabwe Migrants Support Network.

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