The Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement consists of three different factions, all working together to form the world’s largest humanitarian network. Here is an explanation of the work each group does, and how the three distinct parts work independently and in support of one another.
The three parts of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement are:
IFRC The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world’s largest humanitarian network. It supports local Red Cross and Red Crescent action in more than 191 countries, bringing together almost 16 million volunteers for the good of humanity. The IFRC was founded in 1919 in Paris in the aftermath of World War I.
The IFRC acts before, during and after disasters and health emergencies to meet the needs and improve the lives of vulnerable people. Through its work and that of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the Red Cross is present in virtually every community on earth and reaches 160 million people every year through long-term services, development programs and disaster response.
National Societies Nearly every independent country in the world has a Red Cross or Red Crescent society -- 191 to be exact. The American Red Cross is one of these societies.
All Red Cross and Red Crescent activities have one central purpose: to help those who suffer, without discrimination. Each National Society carries out its mission in different ways -- from responding to home fires and hurricanes to conflict, traffic accidents and loneliness. These organizations are chartered by their respective governments and, together, they assist one in 65 people in the world each year.
ICRC The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, is an impartial, neutral and independent organization whose exclusive humanitarian mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of war and internal violence and to provide them with assistance. Established in 1863, the ICRC works all over the world, helping people affected by conflict and armed violence. During situations of conflict, the ICRC responds quickly to help and also responds to disasters in regions affected by armed conflict. It also promotes the importance of international humanitarian law and draws attention to universal humanitarian principles.
As the custodian of the Geneva Conventions, the ICRC has a permanent mandate under international law to visit prisons, organize relief operations, reunite separated families and undertake other humanitarian activities during armed conflicts. The ICRC also works to meet the needs of internally displaced persons, raise public awareness of the dangers of mines and explosive remnants of war and trace people who have gone missing during conflicts.
The ICRC underscores the importance of international humanitarian law and adherence to the Geneva Conventions to protect civilians, those detained and those working to save lives.
Together, the global Movement works to further its humanitarian Red Cross mission around the world.