Why does ICRC place so much emphasis on "neutrality" - isn't this just a way of not having to take a moral stand?
Neutrality is not an end in itself, but rather a means towards an end, which is: to be able to act on behalf of people protected by humanitarian law and to make a positive difference to those who are affected by armed violence. Neutrality means making no judgement about the merits of one person's need as against another's; it does not mean condoning violations of IHL.
Acting on behalf of all : ICRC needs to work for all who are protected by IHL and who are made vulnerable because of armed conflict. This implies dealing with the authorities - on any side - who have the power to let it act. Not taking sides in an armed conflict is vital in enabling ICRC to reach out to those who need its help.
Hans Haug: Humanity for All (1993) - Neutrality as a Fundamental Principle of the Red Cross; International Review of the Red Cross (December 1996) - Public Advocacy - Why the Red Cross and Red Crescent should look before it leaps
The answers to FAQs on this site are intended as brief, informative summaries of what are often complex matters, and the terminology used has no legal significance.