A history of humanity: The three emblems of humanity

While planning out their new volunteer relief society, Henry Dunant and the other ICRC founding members wanted to create a single, distinctive emblem to help distinguish health-care workers on the battlefield. The symbol they chose was a red cross on a white background. But while there was originally supposed to be only one emblem, two additional emblems were later adopted: the red crescent and the red crystal. Historian François Bugnion brings you the story of the three emblems of humanity.... ...Read more

Focus on humanity 1914-1918 war: International Prisoners of War Agency Between Frontlines - ICRC delegate at work



Reaching people in need

We believe that it’s essential to be on-the-ground and in close proximity to the people we help. This way we can better understand their needs and respond appropriately and efficiently.

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Ensuring IHL does what it’s meant to do – protect

We strive to ensure that international humanitarian law continues to be relevant to today’s conflicts and protects the most vulnerable. We actively seek to achieve better respect for IHL by engaging with fighters and those who influence their behaviour.

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Empowering people and communities

We believe that people affected by conflict and armed violence should play a central role in deciding their aid. They know their environment and what they need. After all, they’re the ones concerned.

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Making the most of the diverse humanitarian landscape

We believe that the diversity of the humanitarian response makes it possible to better meet the needs of vulnerable people. 

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