Since 1863, the exclusive mission of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been to protect and assist victims of armed conflict and promote understanding and respect for international humanitarian law.
As an independent, neutral organization, the ICRC has a permanent mandate under international law to take impartial action for prisoners, the wounded and sick, and civilians affected by conflict.
In support of this mission, the ICRC conducts a range of activities, in more than 80 countries around the world:
- Visiting prisoners of war and civilian detainees (held in connection with armed conflict) to monitor their treatment and conditions
- Educating military personnel and armed groups about their obligations under international humanitarian law
- Exchanging messages between members of families separated by armed conflict
- Helping discover the fate of missing family members
- Providing medical assistance for war wounded, displaced people and others affected by armed conflicts
- Providing emergency relief such as water, sanitation, food, shelter and essential household items