The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is an international humanitarian movement that manages its national “societies”. These are commonly known as the Red Cross, Red Crescent, and most recently, Red Crystal. The emblems refer to religious symbols.
The primary goal of the organization is to protect and save human lives. In most cases, it comes into action during wars and severe humanitarian crises such as earthquakes, floods, and others. In addition, they take care of all regardless of age, sex, nationality, or political identity. It works on volunteering.
The oldest organization is the International Committee of the Red Cross. The story behind the idea is of Henri Dunant. He witnessed the Battle of Solferino, where thousands of soldiers were left untreated. So, along with others, he founded the movement on February 17th, 1863, in Geneva.
In the following years, more and more countries joined the movement. For example, the United States joined in 1881 when Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross. Today, the movement operates in a total of 192 countries.
Red Cross and the Geneva Conventions
Geneva Conventions are a set of rules during times of war. They aim to describe the rights of the wounded, captured, lost, and civilians. Thus, for this organization, this set of rules is essential.
In October 1863, European nations agreed to a significant resolution on the First Geneva Convention. It was the neutrality of the wounded. The idea is that the injured soldiers ought to receive impartial treatment. That meant that a state could not punish an enemy state’s wounded soldier. Besides, a red cross became a symbol of the medical staff.
Yet, after the two world wars, states agreed to more standards. Hence, in 1949, the Geneva Convention “updated” past measures. These conventions are called Second, Third, and Fourth Geneva Conventions. They protect the civilians, prisoners, and the shipwrecked.
The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement won the Nobel Peace Prize on multiple occasions (1917, 1944, and 1963). Besides, It is a member of the United Nations.