International Red Cross
Year founded: 1863
Name of founder: Henry Dunant
Mission: The International Committee of the Red Cross(commonly called International Red Cross or just the Red Cross) is an impartial, neutral, and independent organization whose exclusively humanitarian mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of war, internal violence, and natural disasters, and to provide them with assistance. It directs and coordinates the international relief activities in situations of conflict. It also endeavors to prevent suffering by promoting and strengthening humanitarian law and universal humanitarian principles.
- Founding sessions led to the establishment of the Geneva Conventions
- Employs thousands worldwide helping almost 100 million people
Profile: The Red Cross was the world's first organization to put systems in place to nurse soldiers wounded in the course of war and to guarantee the safety of neutrals. The resultant Geneva Conventions bound the signers for the first time to the following terms:
- The foundation of national relief societies for wounded soldiers
- Neutrality and protection for wounded soldiers
- The utilization of volunteer forces for relief assistance on the battlefield
- The organization of additional conferences to enact these concepts in legally binding international treaties
- The introduction of a common distinctive protection symbol for medical personnel in the field, namely a white armlet bearing a red cross
With some exceptions in every war, these terms have been implemented ever since. As wars have become more localized but less bound by convention, the Red Cross's job has become more dangerous; more delegates lost their lives in the 1990s than at any other time in the organization's history. Today, the Red Cross visits detainees in places such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Darfur, the Palestinian territories, and the U.S. Naval Base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. It advocates for displaced people in places such as Colombia and Sri Lanka. It conducts emergency assistance programs in Somalia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It advocates for victims of land mines, potential victims of epidemics like the avian bird flu, and women and children as the least able to protect themselves in wartime or during natural catastrophes.
–Huntington W. Sharp, Editor, Homepage & Special Projects, Red Room
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