150 years of humanitarian action

Thanks to your support, we have been helping and protecting victims of armed conflicts for more than 150 years.

  • 1864: Geneva Convention
    1864: Geneva Convention
    Moved by his experiences at the Battle of Solferino, Henry Dunant takes the first steps towards setting up the ICRC. The original Geneva Convetion enshrines the obligation to spare and protect wounded soldiers and the people and equipment involved in their care, no matter what side they are on.
    CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / v-p-hist-00122
  • 1914-1918: First World War
    1914-1918: First World War
    The ICRC sets up a tracing agency that lets families and loved ones send messages and parcels to prisoners of war.
    ICRC Archives (ARR) / v-p-hist-03003-34
  • 1939-1945 : Second World War
    1939-1945 : Second World War
    The ICRC reaches thousands during the war, but fails to protect the millions who died in Nazi concentration camps.
    ICRC Archives (ARR) / LACROIX / v-p-hist-00418-02
  • 1950-1953: Korean War
    1950-1953: Korean War
    The Korean War is fought under the shadow of nuclear weapons at the start of the Cold War.
    ICRC Archives (ARR) / v-p-kpkr-n-00042-08a
  • 1954-1962: Algerian War
    1954-1962: Algerian War
    The ICRC is recognized by both parties to the conflict, enabling the organization to help soldiers and civilians throughout the war and for two years after Algeria's independence.
    ICRC Archives (ARR) / v-p-dz-e-00091
  • 1964-1980s: Vietnam War
    1964-1980s: Vietnam War
    The ICRC helps South-East Asian refugees after 1980, but during the conflict the organization's activities are hampered by both sides. In Cambodia, the ICRC reaches more vulnerable people after the fail of the Khmer Rouge.
    CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / v-p-vn-n-00013-30
  • 1967: Six-Day War
    1967: Six-Day War
    This short war marks the beginning of the ICRC's permanent presence in the Middle-East.
    CC BY-NC-ND/ ICRC / v-p-ilaaa-e-00154
  • 1968-1970: Biafra
    1968-1970: Biafra
    As civil war rages, the ICRC sets up an air bridge to bring food and other relief supplies to the most vulnerable people, especially children.
    CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / VATERLAUS Max / v-p-ng-d-00002-05
  • 1980-1988: Iran-Iraq War
    1980-1988: Iran-Iraq War
    The ICRC helps prisoners on both sides of the conflict.
    CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / GASSMANN Thierry / v-p-iriq-d-00003-17
  • 1991: Faced with new conflicts
    1991: Faced with new conflicts
    The fall of the Eastern Bloc, extreme violence in West Africa, and the Gulf War pose new challenges for the ICRC.
    CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / BREGNARD Didier / / v-p-ao-d-00126-12
  • 1992-1995: Bosnian War
    1992-1995: Bosnian War
    In the days after the fall of Srebrenica, civilians fleeing the city start to arrive in Tuzla. Despite the danger, ICRC employees spend the next two weeks scouring the countryside to pick up those who can no longer walk to bring them to safety.
    © Croix-Rouge danoise / M. Ostergaard / v-p-yu-d-00032-16
  • 1994: Rwandan Genocide
    1994: Rwandan Genocide
    The ICRC tries to protect people and brings as much aid as possible to the thousands displaced by the massacres.
    CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / GASSMANN Thierry / v-p-rw-00024-14
  • 2001: The fight against terrorism
    2001: The fight against terrorism
    New challenges arise for the ICRC following the 11 September attacks and the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.
    CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / SIDLER Roland / v-p-af---00292-08
  • 2011: Syrian Civil War
    2011: Syrian Civil War
    After years of civil war, millions have fled their homes or sought refuge across the border, and much of the country has been reducted to rubble. But working alongside the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, the ICRC has access to areas other humanitarian organizations cannot go.
    CC BY-NC-ND / Magnum Photos for ICRC / SESSINI Jérôme / v-p-sy-e-00601
  • 2014: Urkaine Crisis
    2014: Urkaine Crisis
    Since the start of the fighting, the ICRC maintains a dialogue with the Ukrainian authorities to respond quickly to issues of humanitarian concern and support the first-aid work of the Ukrainian Red Cross.
    CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / DONDYUK Maxim / v-p-ua-e-00170