Speech: Humanitarian diplomacy and principled humanitarian action

17 February 2016 Peter Maurer

The following speech was given by the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Peter Maurer, on 2 October 2014 at the Maison de la Paix in Geneva during a conference organized by the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies. Maurer recalled the continued relevance and importance of the humanitarian principles and warned that a lack of common understanding, as well as politicized uses of the principles, jeopardizes the scope and scale of humanitarian action. The speech launched the ICRC's Second Research and Debate Cycle on Principles Guiding Humanitarian Action. Throughout 2015 – the year of the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Fundamental Principles of the Red Cross and Red Movement (the Movement) and of the 32nd International Conference of the Movement, and leading to the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016 – the Research and Debate Cycyle has gathered key actors in the humanitarian field during public events and high-level conferences.1 These events have encouraged substantive discussions on the principles among experts from the Movement, the humanitarian, governmental and academic fields, and other informed participants.

About the author

Peter Maurer

Peter Maurer
President of the ICRC

Peter Maurer has been President of the ICRC since 1 July 2012. In this position, his priorities include strengthening humanitarian diplomacy, engaging States and other actors for the respect of international humanitarian law, and improving the humanitarian response through innovation and new partnerships. He has led the organization through a historic budget increase to meet the growing needs of victims of armed conflict, from 1.1 bn CHF in 2011 to over 1.6 bn CHF in 2015. He previously served as secretary of State of the Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs and ambassador of Switzerland to the UN in New York.