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Fundamental Principles

In a world with increasing isolation, tension and recourse to violence, the Movement must champion the individual and community values which encourage respect for other human beings and a willingness to work together to find solutions to community problems.

The Fundamental Principles are the result of a century of such experience. Proclaimed in Vienna in 1965, they bond together the National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and guarantee the continuity of the Movement and its humanitarian work.

Humanity

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, born of a desire to bring assistance without discrimination to the wounded on the battlefield, endeavours, in its international and national capacity, to prevent and alleviate human suffering wherever it may be found. Its purpose is to protect life and health and to ensure respect for the human being. It promotes mutual understanding, friendship, cooperation and lasting peace amongst all peoples.

 

Impartiality

It makes no discrimination as to nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions. It endeavours to relieve the suffering of individuals, being guided solely by their needs, and to give priority to the most urgent cases of distress.

 

Neutrality

In order to continue to enjoy the confidence of all, the Movement may not take sides in hostilities or engage at any time in controversies of a political, racial, religious or ideological nature.

 

Independence

The Movement is independent. The National Societies, while auxiliaries in the humanitarian services of their governments and subject to the laws of their respective countries, must always maintain their autonomy so that they may be able at all times to act in accordance with the principles of the Movement.

 

Voluntary Service

It is a voluntary relief movement not prompted in any manner by desire for gain.

 

Unity

There can be only one Red Cross or one Red Crescent Society in any one country. It must be open to all. It must carry on its humanitarian work throughout its territory.

 

Universality

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, in which all Societies have equal status and share equal responsibilities and duties in helping each other, is worldwide.

Click here to visit the IFRC webpage for the Fundamental Principles, which is full of activities and interactive features.

One Voice - an introduction to the Fundamental Principles, by the British Red Cross
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