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International Review of the Red Cross, 2012 - No 888 – ICRC: 150 Years of Humanitarian Action

The International Review of the Red Cross is a quarterly published by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Cambridge University Press.

Issue No. 888 – 2012

Theme - ICRC: 150 Years of Humanitarian Action

Download pdfPDF 13 MB In 2013, the 150th anniversary of the ICRC provides an opportunity to reflect on 150 years of humanitarian action and current challenges. The Review took part in this reflection through a special edition with contributions from key personalities sharing their perspective on the organization. A series of articles explores the history of humanitarian action as well as current legal and operational challenges.
By article: ICRC: 150 Years of Humanitarian Action - issue No. 888

Table of contents


Perspectives on the ICRC

Turning points in the history of the ICRC and the Movement

The ICRC today

  • New technologies and new policies: the ICRC’s evolving approach to working with separated families
    Olivier Dubois, Katharine Marshall and Siobhan Sparkes McNamara
    The field of humanitarian action is far from static, and the ICRC has worked over the years to evolve and respond to changing needs and changing circumstances. The past several decades have seen a proliferation of humanitarian actors, protracted, complex conflicts, and the rapid rise of new technologies that have significantly impacted how humanitarian work is done.
  • A new challenge or a new role? The ICRC in Northern Ireland
    Geoff Loane
    This article examines the face of modern humanitarianism outside of armed conflict, its dilemmas, and provides analysis as to why the ICRC has a role in the Northern Ireland context.
  • Challenges to international humanitarian law: Israel’s occupation policy
    Peter Maurer
    In this article, the ICRC's President Peter Maurer presents the ICRC's view on Israeli policies and practices regarding certain key issues related to the occupation, deriving from Israel's obligations under occupation law, namely the annexation of East Jerusalem, the routing of the West Bank Barrier and the building of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. 
  • International humanitarian law, ICRC and Israel’s status in the Territories
    Alan Baker
    This article discusses contentions voiced by ICRC President Maurer in a speech on ‘Challenges to humanitarian action in contemporary conflicts: Israel, the Middle East and beyond’, developed in the form of the article in this issue of the International Review of the Red Cross.

Comments and opinions

  • Médecins Sans Frontières and the ICRC: matters of principle
    Rony Brauman
    How do Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) differ, and how are they alike? The question came from the Editor-in-chief of this Review, but it is regularly discussed at MSF, which might just as well have queried a member of the ICRC on the same subject.
  • Humanitarian care and small things in dehumanised places
    Paul Bouvier
    Small things, just like a cup of coffee, pictures of flowers, animals, and landscapes, or a few drops of perfume. Very small things indeed, so derisory that they rarely dare to appear in reports, accounts, and media articles on humanitarian action in the field. Yet, such small things sometimes represent a substantial part, and perhaps a most meaningful one, of the activity of the ICRC’ personnel in the field in the midst of armed conflicts and violence.

Reports and documents

Books and articles

  • Book review - Henry Dunant: La croix d’un homme
    Book review by Franc¸ois Bugnion, an independent consultant in international humanitarian law and humanitarian action, and the author of more than fifty books and articles on international humanitarian law and on the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. Mr. Bugnionis a Member of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
  • New publications in humanitarian action and the law
    This selection is based on the new acquisitions of the ICRC Library and Public Archives


Texts published by the Review reflect the views of the author alone and not necessarily those of the ICRC or of the Review. Only texts bearing an ICRC signature may be ascribed to the institution.

See also