Established in 1863, the ICRC operates worldwide, helping people affected by conflict and armed violence and promoting the laws that protect victims of war. An independent and neutral organization, its mandate stems essentially from the Geneva Conventions of 1949. We are based in Geneva, Switzerland, and employ some 16,000 people in more than 80 countries. The ICRC is funded mainly by voluntary donations from governments and from National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
Our mandate & mission
The work of the ICRC is based on the Geneva Conventions of 1949, their Additional Protocols, its Statutes those of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and the resolutions of the International Conferences of the Red Cross and Red Crescent. The ICRC is an independent, neutral organization ensuring humanitarian protection and assistance for victims of war and armed violence. It takes action in response to emergencies and promotes respect for international humanitarian law and its implementation in national law.
To protect the lives and dignity of victims of armed conflict and violence and to provide them with assistance.
The ICRC's Mission Statement
The International Committee of the Red Cross is an impartial, neutral and independent organization whose exclusively humanitarian mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence and to provide them with assistance.
The ICRC also endeavours to prevent suffering by promoting and strengthening humanitarian law and universal humanitarian principles.
The ICRC is governed by an Assembly, an Assembly Council (a subsidiary body with certain delegated powers) and a Directorate (the executive body). Both the Assembly, with up to 25 co-opted members of Swiss nationality, and the Assembly Council are chaired by Peter Maurer, who has been President of the ICRC since 1 July 2012. He is assisted by a Vice-President, Christine Beerli.
Finances & budget
The ICRC is funded by voluntary contributions from the States party to the Geneva Conventions, Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, supranational organizations (such as the European Commission) and public and private donors.
Each year the ICRC launches appeals to cover its projected costs in the field and at headquarters, plus additional appeals if needs in the field increase. We account for our work and expenditure in our Annual Report.
International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement
The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is the largest humanitarian network in the world. Its mission is to alleviate human suffering, protect life and health, and uphold human dignity, especially during armed conflicts and other emergencies. It is present in every country and supported by millions of volunteers.
The history of the ICRC
Since its creation in 1863, the ICRC's sole objective has been to ensure protection and assistance for victims of armed conflict and strife. It does so through its direct action around the world, as well as by encouraging the development of international humanitarian law (IHL) and promoting respect for it by governments and all weapon bearers. Its story is about the development of humanitarian action, the Geneva Conventions and the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
Funds and medals
The ICRC administers a number of funds established over the past century by special donations from individuals or organizations.
These have various aims: to promote the work of the Red Cross/Red Crescent and international humanitarian law; to recognize the merits of individuals who have made particular contributions to the work of the Movement or to support staff who are in difficulties because of their work.
Florence Nightingale Medal
For male or female voluntary nursing aides who are active members or regular helpers of a National Red Cross or Red Crescent Society or of an affiliated medical or nursing institution.
French Fund Maurice de Madre
For all staff of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement who have suffered injury in the course of their work within the Movement; are suffering from an illness related to their work within the Movement; and for families of staff members who have lost their lives in the course of their work within the Movement.
Empress Shoken Fund
The Empress Shôken Fund was created in 1912 by Her late Majesty the Empress of Japan to support Red Cross and Red Crescent activities worldwide. Over the past century, the fund has grown substantially thanks to contributions from the Japanese government, the Japanese Red Cross Society, the Imperial Family and the Meiji Jingu shrine.
Paul Reuter Fund
The Paul Reuter Fund was set up in 1983 through a donation made to the ICRC by the late Paul Reuter, Professor Emeritus at the University of Paris and member of the Institut de droit international. The Fund's purpose is twofold: to encourage the publication of works on international humanitarian law or other initiatives in that field; and to finance the Paul Reuter Prize.