The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.
Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement
The American Red Cross is part of the global Red Cross and Red Crescent network, which works to prevent and alleviate human suffering around the world. This network includes national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies like the American Red Cross in almost every country; the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, which coordinates international assistance; and the International Committee of the Red Cross, which focuses exclusively on areas of armed conflict. The network is united by a shared commitment to the fundamental principles listed below.
The Red Cross, born of a desire to bring assistance without discrimination to the wounded on the battlefield, endeavors—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.
It makes no discrimination as to nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions. It endeavors 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 Red Cross may not take sides in hostilities or engage at any time in controversies of a political, racial, religious or ideological nature.
The Red Cross 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 Red Cross principles.
The Red Cross is a voluntary relief movement not prompted in any manner by desire for gain.
There can be only one Red Cross society in any one country. It must be open to all. It must carry on its humanitarian work throughout its territory.
The Red Cross is a worldwide institution in which all societies have equal status and share equal responsibilities and duties in helping each other.