Henri Dunant (1828-1910)
- 1859 Battle of Solferino - Henri Dunant.
- 1862 Book: "A Memory of Solferino."
- 1863 International Committee for the relief of military
wounded, from 1876. International Committee of the Red
Cross, Geneva International Conference. Establishment of
national committees for the relief of military wounded.
- 1864 Geneva Convention (for the amelioration of the
condition of the wounded in armies in the field).
- 1867 1st International Conference of the Red Cross. (9
Governments, 16 National Committees, ICRC).
- 1899 Adaption to maritime warfare of the Principles of
the Geneva Convention of 1864 (Convention no. III of the
- 1906 Revision and development of the Geneva Convention of
- 1907 Adaption to maritime warfare of the principles of
the Geneva Convention of 1906. (Convention No. X of the
- 1919 League of Red Cross Societies, from 1983 League of
Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and from 1991
Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
- 1928 Statutes of the International Red Cross (revised in
1952 and 1986).
- 1929 Geneva Conventions Revision and development of the
Geneva Convention of 1906 for the amelioration of the
condition of the wounded and sick in armed forces in the
field. Official recognition of the emblem of the Red
Crescent (first used in 1876).
- 1949 Geneva Conventions:
- Convention I: for the amelioration of the condition of
the wounded and sick in armed forces in the field
(revision and development of the Geneva Convention of
1929) Convention II: for the amelioration of the
condition of wounded and sick and shipwrecked.
- Convention III: relative to the treatment of prisoners of
war (revision and development of the Geneva Convention of
- Convention IV: relative to the protection of civilian
persons in times of war.
- 1965 Proclamation of the Fundamental Principles of the
- Humanity, Impartiality, Neutrality, Independence,
Voluntary Service, Unity, Universality.
- 1977 Protocols additional to the Geneva Conventions of
- Protection of victims of international armed conflicts:
- Protection of victims of non-international armed
conflicts: Protocol II
- 1986 Statutes of the International Red Cross and Red
- 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 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.
- 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.
- 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 ac
- It is a voluntary relief Movement not prompted in any
manner by desire for gain.
- There can only be 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
- 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
The Fundamental Principles were adopted by the 20th Conference
of the Red Cross held in Vienna in 1965 giving the Movement its
The International Committee of the Red Cross
Following the original 'committee of 5' and the birth of the
Red Cross in 1863, the Committee subsequently took the title
'International Committee of the Red Cross' (ICRC). The ICRC is a
private, independent institution composed of Swiss nationals.
The ICRC is funded through voluntary contributions from:
- states party to the Geneva Conventions
- from National Societies
- from private donors
- and through gifts and bequests.
Before 1864 humanitarian problems arising from armed conflict
had no legal remedies and war victims suffered accordingly. The
founders of the ICRC saw a need for one single body of law to
deal with armed conflict. The representatives of 10 governments c
There are 4 Geneva Conventions and two additional Protocols.
- FIRST CONVENTION Deals with wounded and sick members of
armed forces, medical personnel and chaplains.
- SECOND CONVENTION Deals with wounded and sick members of
armed forces, medical personnel and chaplains of armed
forces at sea, the shipwrecked.
- THIRD CONVENTION deals with prisoners of war.
- FOURTH CONVENTION civilians in enemy or occupied
In 1977 because of new practices and the evolution of armed
conflicts after 1949 two additional treaties were needed to
protect victims of war especially civilians. On the 8th of June
1977 a Diplomatic Conference again convened in Geneva adopted two
(a) International armed conflict: PROTOCOL I
(b) Non-international armed conflict: PROTOCOL II
The work of the ICRC
The ICRC works to protect and assist victims in the following
Its delegates visit persons deprived of liberty (prisoners of
war, civilian internees, security detainees) in their places of
detention. It investigate the conditions of detention.
Reunites families split up by war.
Brings assistance to victims of war by providing medical care,
setting up hospitals and providing material aid as needed such as
food, shelter and clothing.
Also the ICRC runs a Central Tracing Agency whose main tasks
- trace persons whose families have no news of them or have
- arrange for the exchange of family messages when normal
channels of communication have broken down
- organise family reunifications and repatriations.
This page was updated: 28 May, 1998
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