INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE RED CROSS (ICRC)
“The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is an impartial, neutral and independent organization whose exclusively humanitarian mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of war and internal violence and to provide them with assistance.”
“Established in 1863, the ICRC is at the origin of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.“
“It directs and coordinates the international relief activities conducted by the Movement in situations of conflict. It also endeavours to prevent suffering by promoting and strengthening humanitarian law and universal humanitarian principles.“
“The ICRC has a legal mandate from the international community. That mandate has two sources:
- the Geneva Conventions, which task the ICRC with visiting prisoners, organizing relief operations, re-uniting separated families and similar humanitarian activities during armed conflicts;
Governments, policy makers, public, donors, parties involved in conflicts, victims of conflicts and human rights violations.
“What we do:
- Try to ensure civilians not taking part in hostilities are spared and protected
- Visit prisoners of war and security detainees
- Transmit messages to and reunite family members separated by armed conflict
- Help to find missing persons
- Offer or facilitate access to basic health care services
- Provide urgently needed food, safe drinking water, sanitation and shelter
- Promote respect for international humanitarian law
- Monitor compliance with and contribute to further development of international humanitarian law
- Help reduce the impact of mines and explosive remnants of war on people
Additionally: Private sources, associations and companies; legacies; gifts (ICRC: Annual Review 2006, financial section,
Scope of reporting:
The ICRC produces a wide range of communication materials whether to promote international humanitarian law, to increase awareness of dangers such as landmines or to outline activities in specific countries. Among these reports are the Annual Reports of the International Committee of the Red Cross, describing field activities out of 80 delegations worldwide; its mandate to protect the lives and dignity of victims of war and its work to promote respect for international humanitarian law.
Other topics of publications include: prison conditions, detainees, health, humanitarian situation, economic security, living conditions, missing persons, minors, women, reunifications of families, child soldiers, sanitation, wounded and sick persons as well as publications on the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement and publications on international humanitarian law (ICRC Website, http://www.icrc.org/Web/Eng/siteeng0.nsf/htmlall/publications?OpenDocument, accessed on 15 January 2008).
Note: Significant numbers of the ICRC’s reports are never published: “If the ICRC observes a violation of the rules of war, it makes a confidential approach to the authorities responsible for the incident. Where violations are serious, repeated and established with certainty, and when confidential representations to the authorities have failed to improve the situation, it reserves the right to take a public stance by denouncing such failure to respect humanitarian law, provided that it deems such publicity to be in the interests of those affected or threatened by the violations. Such a step is exceptional.” (ICRC, September 2005, p.17)
For more details on ICRC’s policy of confidentiality, see:
International Review of the Red Cross (quarterly)
All others: Irregular/on demand/unknown.
English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese and Arabic.