International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement

The Swiss Red Cross is one of the world’s 192 national Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Together with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), they comprise the world’s largest humanitarian network.

National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

The Swiss Red Cross is one of the world’s 192 national Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. These independent, impartial and neutral humanitarian organizations have a special legal status. There can only be one national Red Cross or Red Crescent Society in any one country.

The national societies help their countries’ authorities support disadvantaged and vulnerable people in emergencies and protect their lives, health and dignity.

Every national society has its own network of volunteers and staff. They provide a broad range of services, tailored to the needs of their countries in times of peace and war.

Based on their capabilities, resources and skills, they support other national societies in the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. This deep-rooted solidarity is what sets the movement apart from others.

Worldwide humanitarian network

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement also comprises the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

The International Federation (IFRC) is the worldwide association of national societies. From its headquarters in Geneva, it coordinates the movement’s international relief operations in response to natural disasters.
Whenever disaster strikes, the local national societies and the IFRC are first to provide emergency and disaster relief. The IFRC promotes collaboration between the national societies and supports them in their work and development.

International Committee of the Red Cross

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is a Swiss organization with worldwide reach. Its humanitarian mission is to support the victims of armed conflict all over the world. As part of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, it coordinates international relief activities in response to armed conflicts and other violent events.

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Components of the International Movement

The Swiss Red Cross is a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, which comprises:

  • 192 national societies

  • International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

  • International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)

Collectively, they form the world’s largest humanitarian network.

The emblems of the International Movement

Red cross, red crescent and red crystal: the emblems of the International Movement

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is recognizable by its emblems: the red cross, the red crescent and the red crystal. These emblems play an important role. During war or armed conflict, they protect the civilian and military medical personnel, hospitals, ambulances, humanitarian workers and supplies.

Imitating or using them without authorization is considered improper use. Using them correctly is an important part of International Humanitarian Law.

International Humanitarian Law

War and armed conflict have tragic consequences for local populations. The mission of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is to prevent and alleviate human suffering everywhere and at all times. It endeavours to protect human life and health and to ensure respect for the human being, especially during armed conflicts and other emergencies.

Disseminating the rules of International Humanitarian Law and the Fundamental Principles is therefore part of the important role of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

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