Components and bodies of the International Movement of the Red Cross and Red Crescent
The International Movement of the Red Cross and Red Crescent is made of several different components all guided by the same seven Fundamental Principles: humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality.
International Committee of the Red Cross
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. 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. Established in 1863, the ICRC is at the origin of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
The Federation works on the basis of the Principles of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to inspire, facilitate and promote all hum anitarian activities carried out by its member National Societies to improve the situation of the most vulnerable people. Founded in 1919, the Federation directs and coordinates international assistance of the Movement to victims of natural and technological disasters, to refugees and in health emergencies. It acts as the official representative of its member Societies in the international field. It promotes cooperation between National Societies and works to strengthen their capacity to carry out effective disaster preparedness, health and social programmes.
National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies embody the work and principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in 188 countries. National Societies act as auxiliaries to the public authorities of their own countries in the humanitarian field and provide a range of services including disaster relief, health and social programmes. During wartime, National Societies assist the affected civilian population and support the army medical services where appropriate. All National Societies must first be recognized by the ICRC, on the basis of a set of conditions for recognition, in order to become part of the Movement. Subsequently they may become members of the International Federation, the National Societies'umbrella organization.
Together, all the above components of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (the "Movement") are guided by the same seven Fundamental Principles : humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality.
The Movement's mission is to prevent or alleviate human suffering wherever it may be found, to protect life and health, to ensure respect for human dignity (in particular in times of armed conflict and other emergencies), to work for the prevention of disease and the promotion of health and social welfare, to encourage voluntary service and a constant readiness to help and, finally, to foster a universal sense of solidarity towards all those in need of the Movement's protection and assistance
The bodies that govern the Movement are the International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, the Council of Delegates and the Standing Commission.
The International Conference is one of the most important humanitarian forums in the world, bringing together as it does the States party to the Geneva Conventions and the various components of the Movement.
Definition and composition
The International Conference is the Movement's supreme deliberative body. It studies and decides on measures to deal with issues of shared humanitarian concern and any related matters.
Role of the International Conference
The International Conference fosters unity within the Movement and helps it carry out its mission i n full accordance with its Fundamental Principles. It also contributes to respect for and development of international humanitarian law and other treaties of particular interest to the Movement.
Only the International Conference is able to amend the Movement's Statutes and the Conference's Rules of Procedure, and to rule -at the request of any of its members -on any difference of opinion as to the interpretation and application of those Statutes and Rules.
The International Conference elects the members of the Standing Commission in a personal capacity.
The International Conference meets about every four years. In addition to the members (voting participants in the Conference), observers may attend its deliberations. The International Conference endeavours to adopt its resolutions by consensus.
See the Statutes of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, Section III, “Statutory bodies ” (Articles 8 to 11), and the Rules of Procedure of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (Articles 4 to 22).
Council of Delegates
The Council of Delegates is the body in which representatives of all the Movement's components meet to discuss matters which concern the Movement as a whole.
The members of the Council of Delegates are those delegated by the National Societies, the ICRC and the International Federation to represent them.
The Council of Delegates gives an opinion and where necessary takes decisions on policy and subjects of common interest to all components of the Movement.
When meeting prior to the International Conference, the Council of Delegates adopts the Conference's provisionnal agenda, prepares procedures and proposes candidates for a number of Conference posts (Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary General, Chairmen a nd Vice-Chairmen of Commissions and their rapporteurs to the plenary sessions).
The Council of Delegates meets just prior to the opening of each International Conference and, in principle, on the occasion of each session of the International Federation's General Assembly (which is held every two years). The Council may also meet on its own initiative or whenever one third of the National Societies, or the ICRC, or the International Federation or the Standing Commission so request.
In addition to the members entitled to take part to the Council, observers from National Societies in the process of recognition may attend its meetings. The Council endeavours to adopt its resolution by consensus.
See the Statutes of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, Section III, “Statutory bodies ” (Articles 12 to 15), and the Rules of Procedure of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (Articles 23 to 28).
The Standing Commission is the trustee of the International Conference between Conferences.
The Standing Commission comprises nine members: five from different National Societies – each elected in a personal capacity by the International Conference and holding office until the close of the following International Conference – two representatives of the ICRC and two representatives of the International Federation. The Standing Commission elects a Chairman and a Vice-Chairman from among its members.
The main task of the Standing Commission is to prepare the International Conference and the Council of Delegates. The Standing Commission also deals with matters of concern to the Movement as a whole. Finally, it awards the Henry Dunant Medal to persons who have shown outstanding courage or exceptional devotion in serving the Movement.
The Standing Commission meets at least twice yearly and has its headquarters in Geneva.
See the Statutes of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, Section III, “Statutory bodies ” (Articles 16 to 19), the Rules of Procedure of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (articles 29 to 31) and the Rules of Procedures of the Standing Commission of the Red Cross and Red Crescent.
Members of the Standing Commission (2011-2015)
National Society members elected in their personal capacity:
Mr Greg Vickery (Australia, Chair)
Dr Steven E. Carr (USA, Vice Chair)
H.E. Dr Mohammed Al-Hadid (Jordan)
Dr Massimo Barra (Italy)
Mr Pär Stenbäck (Finland)
- Ex officio members, ICRC:
Dr Peter Maurer, President
Mr Philip Spoerri, Director for International Law and Cooperation within the Movement
Ex officio members, the International Federation:
Mr Tadateru Konoé, President
Mr Bekele Geleta, Secretary General