The International Red Cross & Red Crescent Movement
The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is the largest humanitarian network in the world. Its mission is to alleviate human suffering, protect life and health, and uphold human dignity especially during armed conflicts and other emergencies. It is present in every country and supported by millions of volunteers.
The components of the Movement are:
• The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
• The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)
• 186 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (NS)
Each component has its own legal identity and role, but they are all united by seven Fundamental Principles. These Principles are humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality. Each component of the Movement must respect and uphold them. In addition to these uniting values, the components of the Movement have an obligation to coordinate and cooperate with each other and ensure their actions are complementary.
The ICRC's exclusively humanitarian mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence and to provide them with assistance. It directs and coordinates the Movement's international relief activities during armed conflicts. Established in 1863, it is at the origin of the Movement.
The IFRC was founded in 1919. It is a membership organisation established by and comprised of National Societies. The general objective of the IFRC is to inspire, encourage, facilitate and promote at all times all forms of humanitarian activities carried out by National Societies with a view to preventing and alleviating human suffering and thereby contributing to the maintenance and promotion of human dignity and peace in the world. Its strategic aims are: Save lives, protect livelihoods, and strengthen recovery from disasters and crises; Enable healthy and safe living; Promote social inclusion and a culture of non-violence and peace.
There are 186 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies around the world. National Societies are recognised and act as auxiliaries to their national authorities in the humanitarian field. They provide a range of services including disaster relief, and health and social programmes. In wartime they assist the civilian population and support the medical services of the armed forces.
As partners, the components of the Movement support communities in becoming stronger and safer through a variety of development projects and humanitarian activities. The Movement also works in cooperation with governments, donors and other aid organizations to assist vulnerable people around the world.