Questions answered

Questions & Answers


About Refugees United and what we do

Q: Can REFUNITE 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: Does REFUNITE have any political or religious affiliations?

No. Refugees United has no political or religious affiliations whatsoever and is completely independent.

Q: How can I help?

You can help in many ways. You can spread the word, donate or sign up for a partnership

Q: How does REFUNITE 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 REFUNITE 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: How does REFUNITE 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: How is REDUNITE funded?

REFUNITE 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 REFUNITE, please contact us

Q: What is REFUNITE’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.

Q: What makes REFUNITE 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.

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: Who is behind REFUNITE?

REFUNITE was founded in Copenhagen, Denmark, by two brothers, David and Christopher Mikkelsen.

The main office is located in Copenhagen and is supported by a small team of dedicated staff. Refugees United also has an office in Nairobi, Kenya, that serves as the hub for all our on-ground operations in East Africa and other regions.

Q: Will it ever cost money to register or search?

No. The Refugees United platform is free of charge. Normal charges to use the Internet might apply.

How the search tool works

Q: 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: 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.

Q: 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 - except mobile phone number, email address and user name, which is hidden by default until you decide something else. Users can register on the Refugees United platform 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. Any saved searches you make will be made public in the system so other users and/or the system can suggest potential matches and help you find the person you are looking for.

Q: I am an unregistered citizen. Can I still use the tracing tool?

Yes. Anyone can use the tracing tool regardless of formal status.

Q: 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: Is it possible to register on behalf of others?

Yes, it is possible to register on behalf of someone else. However we kindly ask that you do so only if and when you have explained to the person in question what Refugees United is, and have their full consent. Bear in mind that registering a profile on Refugees United means that this personal information becomes publicly available. Also remember that unless you register with a working mobile phone number/e-mail address and/or check your inbox for messages regularly you will not know if someone in your family has found you. Finally, profiles may not be used to fortuitously contact people on the site except for the purpose of finding family and loved ones. 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.

Q: 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: 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. The person contacting you will only be able to see the information you have given for your registration as well as any person(s) you are searching for. No third party can find out anything about your physical location unless you have made these details available.

Q: What if I lose the login information for my profile?

If you forgot your username or password, you can either enter your username, email, or mobile number and receive a message with login information and a link to reset (change) your password.

If you have lost or forgotten your username or password and you have not registered with and email address or mobile phone number, please re-register on Refugees United.

About security

Q: Does REFUNITE 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.

Working with selected partners, e.g. mobile network operators, to provide our service free of charge in some countries entails collaborating through an API. This allows REFUNITE to offer enhanced services such as SMS-based search. There may be situations where partners have access to personally identifiable information gained from users usage of the site, such as users IP addresses or mobile phone number (for users of the SMS-based services). REFUNITE works to ensure that any third party is not misusing information being transferred between our system and end users.

Q: How is the information used by REFUNITE?

In order to secure the best possible search and matching system, and thereby provide the best possible service, REFUNITE logs all user data. Only core technical staff under strict NDA agreements has access to this data.

Q: How secure is the system?

The application servers and databases are hosted in a Tier 4 compliant data center in Denmark to eliminate the risk of physical data theft. The application layer is strengthened by utilizing Cloud Flare to protect against known large-scale attacks as well as individual computers known to be infected with malware.

Access to the sensitive data stored in our database is only delegated to few selected employees of Refugees United, who are operating under strict NDA agreements.

Q: Is it safe to register?

At Refugees United we take security and privacy very seriously. 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.

Please also refer to our privacy policy.

Q: What is your Privacy Policy?

Please refer to our section on Privacy Policy

 

Quotes

"The new mobile phone search engine enables refugees to search for their loved ones on any low cost handset, through simple text messages"
President Bill Clinton
"Allowing for refugees access to state of art technology in order to connect with and reach out to family members they have lost contact with is fundamental"
António Guterres
"Refugees United, The Social Network That's More Important Than Facebook, Goes Mobile"
Alice Korngold
"In a pioneering way the innovators of Refugees United have used modern technology to alleviate the terrible pain that separation from and uncertainty about family members bring"
Morten Kjærum
"We must strive to ensure that the technological revolution already benefitting so many also embraces those that may have been excluded and are less fortunate. Refugees United accomplishes this objective"
José María Figueres