Overview

The Red Cross and Red Crescent movement is made up of three parts.

  • The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
  • The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)
  • 189 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies around the world, including the British Red Cross

Bermuda Red Cross
Based in Geneva, Switzerland, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is an independent humanitarian organization, whose role is defined in the Geneva Conventions.
It helps victims of armed conflict and internal disturbances, and coordinates the work of National Societies in these situations. ICRC delegates also visit prisoners-of-war and civilian detainees to inspect their conditions.

Its role encompasses the following:

  • Protection and assistance to the victims of armed conflicts
  • Humanitarian relief programmes in conflict areas
  • Guardian of the Fundamental Principles of the Movement and custodian of International Humanitarian Law (IHL)
  • Promotes, develops and disseminates IHL
  • Dissemination of the Fundamental Principles, and the role of the Movement, particularly in armed conflicts
  • Monitors the implementation of IHL and makes confidential reports and representations to governments on IHL matters
  • Works as a neutral intermediary under IHL and makes confidential reports and representations to governments on IHL matters
  • Works as a neutral intermediary under IHL and the Movement’s Statutes to protect and assist victims of armed conflict
  • Legal right of access to prisoners of war and other victims during international armed conflicts; more limited rights in civil wars ‘Right of initiative’ to offer its services in situations of internal violence
  • Visits prisoners of war and civilian detainees, to ensure acceptable conditions
  • Medical assistance to military and civilian victims of armed conflicts
  • Tracing and Red Cross Messages
  • Coordinates and delivers international relief programmes within conflict areas
  • Recognition of National Societies
  • Assistance to National Societies on IHL matters, dissemination and preparation for role in armed conflicts

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (The Federation)

Bermuda Red Cross

 

Also based in Geneva, the Federation coordinates international relief provided by National Societies for victims of natural disasters and for refugees and displaced persons outside conflict zones.
It also helps national Societies with their own development, helping the to plan and implement disaster-preparedness and development projects for vulnerable people in their local communities.

Its role encompasses the following:

  • Assisting the development of the National Societies
  • Coordinating the work of the National Societies
  • Promotes and assists the creation of National Societies
  • Recognition of National Societies
  • Assists National Societies to develop their capacity to meet local needs
  • Coordinates ‘development cooperation’ whereby National Societies with greater resources provide assistance to other National Societies to help them to develop their capacity
  • Coordinates international relief programmes in major disasters outside conflict areas
  • Coordinates international relief programmes for refugees and displaced people outside conflict areas
  • Promotes the Fundamental Principles and ideals of the Movement and assists National Societies with dissemination work
  • Liaison and coordination of the work of the National Societies
  • International spokesperson of the National Societies

National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

The British Red Cross is a National Society. Most countries around the world have a National Red Cross or Red Crescent Society. Each Society has a responsibility to help vulnerable people within its own borders, and to work in conjunction with the Movement to protect and support those in crisis worldwide.
As each National Society works to meet local needs, services vary from country to country.

Its role encompasses the following:

  • Emergency response
  • Providing for the needs of the local population
  • Preparation for role in conflict and disasters
  • Support for the work of the Movement
  • Auxiliaries to the medical services of the armed forces in international armed conflicts
  • Auxiliaries to the public authorities in the humanitarian field
  • Assistance to, and relief programmes for, victims of armed conflicts, natural disasters and other emergencies, including refugees
  • Disasters preparedness and preparation for their role in armed conflict
  • Dissemination of IHL, the Fundamental Principles, the meaning of the emblems, and the role of the Movement
  • International tracing and messages
  • Programmes to meet the needs of the local population
  • Support the work of the Movement, including support for ICRC and Federation (money, goods and personnel) and bi-lateral capacity-building assistance to other Societies
  • Public information and fundraising activities

The Seven Fundamental Principles

Proclaimed in Vienna in 1965, the seven Fundamental Principles bind together the:

  • National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
  • International Committee of the Red Cross
  • International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

They guarantee the consistency of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and its humanitarian work.

Humanity

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, born of a desire to bring assistance without discrimination to the wounded on the battlefield, endeavors, in its international and national capacity, to prevent and alleviate human suffering wherever it may be found. It promotes mutual understanding, friendship, co-operation and lasting peace amongst all peoples.

Impartiality

It makes no discrimination as to nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions. It endeavors to relieve the suffering of individuals, being guided solely by their needs, and to give priority to the most urgent classes of distress.

Neutrality

In order to continue to enjoy the confidence of all, the Movement may not take sides in hostilities or engage at any time in controversies of a political, racial, religious or ideological nature.

Independence

The movement is independent. The National Societies, whilst auxiliaries in the humanitarian services of their governments and subject to laws of their respective countries, must always maintain their autonomy so that they may be able at all times to act in accordance with the principles of the Movement.

Voluntary Service

It is a voluntary relief movement not prompted in any manner by desire for gain.

Unity

There can only be one Red Cross or Red Crescent Society in any one country. It must be open to all. It must carry on its humanitarian work throughout its territory.

Universality

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, in which all Societies have equal status and share equal responsibilities and duties in helping each other, is worldwide.

The Red Cross Emblem

The emblem of a red cross with arms of equal length on a white background is the visible sign of protection under the 1949 Geneva Conventions. As such, it is the emblem of the armed forces’ medical services.

The British Red Cross is authorized by the United Kingdom Ministry of Defense to use the emblem within specified limits.

Bermuda Red Cross