What is the Global Family Reunification Network?

Ermias and Ksanet were torn apart from their mom and youngest siblings when they fled conflict in Eritrea. After four years of separation, the family is reunited in Switzerland.

What is the Global Family Reunification Network?

Ermias and Ksanet were torn apart from their mom and youngest siblings when they fled conflict in Eritrea. After four years of separation, the family is reunited in Switzerland. © UNHCR/Mark Henley

What is the Global Family Reunification Network?

The Global Family Reunification Network (FRUN) is the first global platform devoted to family reunification for refugees and other beneficiaries of international protection. 

Launched in December 2020, the FRUN draws together key stakeholders, experts and academics in the realm of family reunification with the collective purpose of promoting and facilitating greater access to family reunification procedures.  

The FRUN provides States and other relevant stakeholders with a common space for advocacy, sharing good practices and exchanging ideas, promoting State-to-State engagement, capacity building and resourcing of relevant operational actors, testing pilot programmes and information sharing.

What we do?
 

Our objectives

FRUN Objective - Expand Opportunities

Expand opportunities

Increase access to family reunification in line with the multi-stakeholder Third Country Solutions for Refugees: Roadmap 2030.


 

 

FRUN Objective -Promote outcomes

Promote outcomes

Promote family reunification outcomes–strengthen quality and delivery through joint technical and operational collaboration.


 

 

FRUN Objective - Data and evidence

Evidence and data

Improve evidence availability and data collection on family reunification of refugees.

To achieve these objectives, the FRUN:

  • Creates a forum for States and organisations to exchange information, experience, challenges and good practices, and identify practical solutions to improve access to family reunification for refugees;
  • Advocates and informs policy and States procedures and standards;
  • Strongly advocates for improving data collection to fully understand needs and monitor practices, aiming to ensure adequate reporting on family reunification against the goals of the GCR and the Roadmap; 
  • Reviews guidance on family reunification, based on supranational and national case law, refugee testimonies and field experience;
  • Engages in direct exchanges with operations and partners, and highlights good practices to overcome key barriers to family reunification;
  • Studies the outcomes and supports the developments of tools, mechanisms and pilot projects in various countries;
  • Fosters cooperation and considers launching additional programmes and partnerships to facilitate access refugees’ to family reunification.

Our activities

  • The FRUN hosts an in-person Annual Conference for its global membership. The last annual Conference took place in Geneva in May 2023, and gave FRUN members an opportunity to discuss progress made, identify challenges and focus on planning;
  • Throughout the year, the FRUN hosts online information sessions on thematic areas or as a response to global events and emergencies;
  • A States-only subgroup meets annually with interim online sessions;
  • Members of the Advisory Group represent the FRUN at various events to promote accessible family reunification procedures;
  • To promote legislative reforms and build sustainable support systems for refugee families, the FRUN is assisting in the development of pledges ahead of the Global Refugee Forum 2023.

Who we are

As of 2023, over 80 entities are represented in the FRUN, with global membership continuing to expand. Membership is open to global actors directly engaged in facilitating, supporting, monitoring and/or researching refugee family reunification, upon approval of the Advisory Group.

The activities and priorities of the FRUN are guided by an Advisory Group consisting of the following members:

RP logo

RefugePoint advances lasting solutions for at-risk refugees and supports the humanitarian community to do the same.RefugePoint envisions an inclusive world where refugees are supported to rebuild their lives, reach their full potential, and contribute to their communities. To achieve this vision, RefugePoint’s strategy focuses on supporting refugees through two core programmatic areas: self-reliance, and resettlement and other pathways to safety. Through its self-reliance programming, RefugePoint helps refugees improve their lives and increase their self-reliance in the countries to which they flee. Through its programming related to resettlement and other pathways to safety, RefugePoint helps refugees legally relocate to safe countries where they can rebuild their lives. Since it was founded in 2005, RefugePoint has directly helped more than 100,000 refugees to relocate to safety through resettlement, family reunification, work visas, and education visas. Through its self-reliance, field-building and systems change activities, RefugePoint’s work has benefitted tens of thousands more.

UNHCR Logo

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is a global organization dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future for people forced to flee their homes because of conflict and persecution. UNHCR leads international action to protect refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people. UNHCR delivers life-saving assistance, helps safeguard fundamental human rights, and develops solutions that ensure people have a safe place called home where they can build a better future. UNHCR also works to ensure that stateless people are granted a nationality. UNHCR works in over 130 countries, using expertise to protect and care for millions.

IRAP logo

IRAP is a global legal aid and advocacy organization working to create a world where refugees and all people seeking safety are empowered to claim their right to freedom of movement and a path to lasting refuge. Everyone should have a safe place to live and a safe way to get there.

IRAP provides legal aid to displaced people seeking reunification with relatives in France, Germany, Sweden, and the United States. Through advocacy and litigation, including international litigation, IRAP also seeks to effect systems change in family reunification processes. IRAP also partners with other NGOs providing family reunification support to other countries in Europe. 

iom logo

Established in 1951, IOM is the leading intergovernmental organization in the field of migration and works closely with governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental partners. With 175 member states, a further 8 states holding observer status and offices in over 100 countries, IOM is dedicated to promoting humane and orderly migration for the benefit of all. It does so by providing services and advice to governments and migrants. IOM works to help ensure the orderly and humane management of migration to promote international cooperation on migration issues, to assist in the search for practical solutions to migration problems and to provide humanitarian assistance to migrants in need, including refugees and internally displaced people. The IOM Constitution recognizes the link between migration and economic, social and cultural development, as well as to the right of freedom of movement. IOM works in the four broad areas of migration management: Migration and development, Facilitating migration, Regulating migration and Forced migration. IOM activities that cut across these areas include the promotion of international migration law, policy debate and guidance, protection of migrants' rights, migration health and the gender dimension of migration.

ICRC logo

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) helps people around the world affected by armed conflict and other violence, doing everything it can to protect their lives and dignity and to relieve their suffering, often with its Red Cross and Red Crescent partners. The organization also seeks to prevent hardship by promoting and strengthening humanitarian law and championing universal humanitarian principles. As the reference on international humanitarian law, it helps develop this body of law and works for its implementation.People know they can rely on the ICRC to carry out a range of life-saving activities in conflict zones, including: supplying food, safe drinking water, sanitation and shelter; providing health care; and helping to reduce the danger of landmines and unexploded ordnance. It also reunites family members separated by conflict, and visits people who are detained to ensure they are treated properly. The organization works closely with communities to understand and meet their needs, using its experience and expertise to respond quickly and effectively, without taking sides.

ICMC logo

Founded in 1951, the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) has staff and programs in over 30 countries. In addition to humanitarian and protection programs for refugees (SGBV, Child protection, health, mental health, etc.) and the coordination of civil society engagement in global migration governance, ICMC’s three main activities are related to the resettlement of and complementary pathways for refugees. Since the 1980s, ICMC has provided support to the United States government in the resettlement of refugees through its Resettlement Support Center for Türkiye and Lebanon. ICMC’s large roster of experts in refugee and protection issues can be deployed on short notice to support UNHCR and UNICEF operations across the world. Our deployees bring expertise on resettlement, complementary pathways, child protection, family reunification, and prevention and response to sexual and gender-based violence. ICMC Europe leads the SHARE Network, a platform for mutual exchange and learning amongst local and regional actors working on refugee resettlement and complementary pathways. Through this network, ICMC Europe helps expand welcome from the bottom up and advocates for more and better resettlement in Europe.

Red Cross logo

Created in 2018, the RCRC Working Group on Family Reunification (FRWG) brings together representatives from National Societies, ICRC, IFRC and Red Cross EU office to enhance cooperation within the Movement on Family Reunification in line with the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement’s RFL Strategy 2020-2025, which promotes the right to family life as well as the importance of supporting the reunification of separated families.

Why we do it

Iraqi boy, Emad, plays with his brother after being reunited with his family in Canada.

Iraqi boy, Emad, plays with his brother after being reunited with his family in Canada.

Why we do it

Everyone has a right to family unity and family life. In the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR), States committed to “facilitate effective procedures and clear referral pathways for family reunification”. GCR Objective 3 called for expanding access to third-country solutions including family reunification and mandated the development of the Three-Year Strategy 2019 – 2021 on resettlement and complementary pathways (the Strategy). Launched in 2019, the Strategy called on States to provide and promote access to family reunification for refugees as one of its primary goals. This position was reiterated in the next phase of the Strategy, the Third-Country Solutions for Refugees: Roadmap 2030, launched in 2022.

Refugee-specific family reunification procedures based on relevant State obligations exist in most countries. However, often these procedures remain inaccessible to refugees due to administrative and financial barriers, including documentation requirements, difficulty accessing embassies and consulates, application fees, travel costs and lack of information and assistance.

To jointly seek ways of making family reunification more accessible to refugees, the FRUN was created in the auspices of the GCR and the Strategy to optimise, coordinate, promote, advocate and ensure support for refugee families globally.

Right

Are you a refugee looking to reunite with your family in another country?
For country-specific information on family reunification procedures:

  • First, consult the government website of the relevant country;
  • For basic information on eligibility, procedures and available support, visit help.unhcr.org and consult the relevant country page;
  • FRUN members have useful resources that can offer guidance on family reunification procedures
    (check Advisory Group member websites for more information).