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ICRC activities on behalf of people affected by war

The ICRC is committed to responding rapidly and efficiently to the humanitarian needs of people affected by armed conflict or by a natural disaster occurring in a conflict area. Hostilities can explode without warning; natural disasters can strike unexpectedly and their effects may be multiplied in countries already riven by war. In the face of such unpredictable emergencies, the ICRC attaches great importance to its ability to deploy rapidly in the field.

Selected Activities All What we do

  • Visiting detainees Visiting detainees

    ICRC detention visits aim to ensure that detainees, whatever the reason for their arrest and detention, are treated with dignity and humanity, in accordance with international norms and standards. ICRC delegates work with authorities to prevent abuse and to improve both the treatment of detainees and their conditions of detention.

  • Protecting civilians

    According to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977, civilians and all persons not taking part in combat may under no circumstances be the object of attack and must be spared and protected. In fact, however, this principle has been undermined, because the civilian population, particularly since the Second World War, has suffered most of the consequences of armed violence.

  • Colombia. An ICRC doctor takes care of a child. Health

    The goal of ICRC’s Health Unit activities is to give people affected by conflict access to basic preventive and curative health care that meets universally recognized standards.

  • Building respect for the law

    The ICRC's mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of war and other situations of violence, and to provide them with assistance. One way in which the ICRC does this is to ensure respect for the rights of people affected. That involves reminding authorities and others of their legal obligations under international humanitarian law and international human rights law.

Publications More publications

  • Health care in detention posters

    The Health Care in Detention posters seek to bolster respect for medical ethics in places of detention. Each poster represents a major ethical issue affecting detainees. The posters cover medical confidentiality, treating detainees first and foremost as patients, providing health care on the basis of need, and treating detainees without discrimination. They are intended for medical and prison staff, government and the general public.

  • Red Cross Red Crescent Magazine: Programmed for war, imagining the future of armed conflict

    From microscopic weapons to fully automated robotic fighting machines, the technology of warfare is changing rapidly.

Red Cross Red Crescent Magazine