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. Read full overview
Working with National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the ICRC provided humanitarian assistance to 4.3 million internally displaced people in 32 countries during 2010, all of whom had been driven from their homes by armed conflict or violence.
Families of missing persons suffer greatly owing to uncertainty about the fate of their loved ones who have disappeared as a result of armed conflicts or internal violence. Morris Tidball-Binz, an ICRC forensic doctor, talks about the role of forensics in clarifying the fate of missing persons.
More than 1,400 people – mostly men – are still missing following the 10-year armed conflict in Nepal. Their wives or mothers have had to take on the "man's" role in their families. On the occasion of International Women's Day (8 March), Sylvie Thoral, who heads the ICRC delegation in Nepal, explains how they are coping.
The ICRC and the Mexican Red Cross work together to bring medical help to Central Americans on their way north. It’s one example of how the Movement reaches out to help migrants when they are at their most vulnerable.