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The ICRC's policy on refugees and internally displaced civilians

30-09-2001 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 843, by Françoise Krill


Françoise Krill
is the Deputy Director of Operations, International Committee of the Red Cross. 

Since its foundation in 1863 the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, and in particular the International Committee of the Red Cross, has been concerned with the plight of refugees and internally displaced civilians.
Without listing the Movement’s various operations and especially those of the ICRC to assist refugees in the past century until the fall of the Berlin Wall, mention should be made of several situations that are memorable in terms of the scale of the exodus and in which the ICRC was able to play a significant role.
As a result of the First World War and its aftermath, millions of people found themselves outside their own countries and in dire straits. The Movement was able to intervene and undertook major emergency relief operations. When the need for longer-term intergovernmental action on behalf of refugees became evident, the Red Cross took the initiative of alerting the newly formed intergovernmental organization, the League of Nations, to this need. Thus it was that the League of Nations established, in 1921, the office of its High Commissioner for Refugees and appointed Fridt jof Nansen of Norway to the post.  

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