Our principles in action

2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement’s seven Fundamental Principles. 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement’s seven Fundamental Principles.



Humanity means

we can get closure.

Ebola has taken thousands of lives. In its wake, has left countless families devastated.

Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers like Frances have made it possible for these families to see their loved ones buried, not only safely, but with dignity while respecting local traditions.



Impartiality means

we can sleep with a roof over our heads.

Jerry and Irene were a young couple with a new baby on the way. Then Typhoon Haiyan hit. And they were left vulnerable and homeless, together with thousands of other people.

In the wake of the disaster, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement ensured the family were amongst the first to receive a newly constructed house. So Jerry and Irene had a safe place to sleep, and could focus on rebuilding their lives.


Volunteers working under the protection of the red cross or red crescent emblem must not be targeted.

Protect our volunteers, respect the Movement's emblems

By xxxxx and xxxxxx

Volunteers and staff risk their lives for their communities every day. They do so believing they are under the protection of the red cross and red crescent emblems, which international law recognizes as visible signs of humanity and neutrality in wartime and peacetime alike. As humanitarian workers displaying these emblems, they should be spared from attack and granted safe passage. Unfortunately – unacceptably – this is not always the case.

But ensuring effective protection for volunteers and staff is increasingly difficult. Various factors are placing them at risk, such as the protracted nature of current crises, the multiplication of armed actors and a widespread lack of respect for international humanitarian law. Moreover, civil wars often stretch beyond country borders, with ripple effects that dismantle communities, destroy the social fabric and create volatile environments in which volunteers and staff strive to carry out their life-saving work.

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Red Cross and Red Crescent workers should never be targeted #protectourvolunteers



Neutrality means

I can get married.

Nihal was from occupied Golan. Her groom was living in neighbouring Syria. In the demilitarized zone between their two homes, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement helped make this wedding happen.

Through assistance with the practical arrangements and access to a safe place, the families were able to have rare moment together to celebrate the marriage.


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Independence means

that we can learn

Meryem and Nicole go to school each day to learn about maths, grammar and science. But their favourite subject is humanity.

As part of the relationship that Austrian Red Cross has with its government, Meyrem and Nicole are able to learn life-saving skills such as first aid, and humanitarian values like tolerance and compassion for others.

Voluntary service

Haiti Earthquake 2010

Voluntary service means

they can get well.

The earthquake in Haiti left devastation it its wake. Millions of people were affected. Thousands were in desperate need of first aid.

Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers like Jean worked tirelessly, ensuring locals received essential medical treatment.

My story

Almost everyone has a Red Cross or Red Crescent story. What’s yours?

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What do the Fundamental Principles mean to you? How have they affected your life? What can you – and we – do to promote a better understanding of our principles?

Tell us on our blog

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My name is Obida Al Kassem, I volunteer with Daraa branch of Syrian Arab Red Crescent with the emergency team.

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Unity means

I can feel accepted at work.

Tamsin was unsure of the next step in her career and where she could really fit in. Then she saw a sign – about volunteering at her local Red Cross shop.

Now the manager of the store, Tamsin, who is transgender, has found a place where she feels accepted. She is proud to be part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, a movement that respects and embraces diversity.


Universality means

I can be with my family.

Pilera was visiting her aunt in Bangui, Central African Republic, when the city was attacked. They both fled and found safety in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo. But Pilera had no idea what happened to her mother.

Through the exhaustive efforts of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, Pilera’s mother was found. After a year of being separated, the two were overjoyed to finally be together again.

This post is also available in: French, Spanish, Arabic