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 "Movement" is made up of the following components: the International Committee of the Red Cross, the National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is dedicated to preventing and alleviating human suffering in warfare and in emergencies such as epidemics, floods and earthquakes.It is not a single organization. It is composed of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the 189 individual National Societies. Each 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 is committed to respect and uphold them.
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 Federation inspires, facilitates and promotes all humanitarian activities carried out by its member National Societies on behalf of the most vulnerable people. It directs and coordinates its members’ actions to assist the victims of natural and technological disasters, refugees and those affected by health emergencies. It was founded in 1919.
National Societies 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 may assist the civilian population and support the medical services of the armed forces.To participate in the Movement a National Society must first be recognized by the ICRC and then admitted to the International Federation. There are ten conditions for recognition listed in the Statutes of the Movement. They include such requirements as autonomous status recognized under national legislation, the use of a recognized emblem and adherence to the Fundamental Principles. There can only be one society in each country and it must be constituted on the territory of an independent State.