Either by armed conflicts or natural disasters, year by year millions of people are in desperate need of help. A man called Henry Dunant looked down to these people need and helped to conceive his vision of serving the needy ones in the whole world. Ever since its creation, almost 150 years ago, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is the largest humanitarian network in the world. The organization is dedicated to prevent and alleviate human suffering in war times and emergencies cases such as natural disasters. Henry Dunant, a Swiss businessman and social activist, established the ICRC in1863.
It was on the ICRC’s initiative that the original Geneva Convention of 1864 was adopted by 12 nations and led to the establishment of the Red Cross in Geneva. Clara Barton was the principal promoter for the ratification of the First Geneva Convention by the United States, which eventually ratified it in 1881. The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is not a single organization, other sub organisms that share the same principles compose it. First, it is the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the National Societies.
The International Committee of the Red Cross or ICRC is an independent organization that protects and provides assistance for the victims of any armed conflict, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies coordinates international relief efforts in response to natural disasters and humanitarian services unrelated to armed conflicts and the third component of the movement, the National Societies, are the individual organizations that carry out relief efforts in nearly every country. This component works both globally and locally.
They provide a range of services including disaster relief, and health and social programs. In wartime they may assist the civilian population affected by the warfare and support the medical services of the armed forces, regardless of the precedence of the soldiers. The American Red Cross founded by Clara Barton, particularly the biggest and strongest worldwide. These three components of the movement although they are independent, they are united by the seven fundamental principles: humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality.
Humanity is the first principle because the Movement was born of a desire to bring assistance without discrimination to the war wounded, protect life, health and to ensure respect for the human being. Impartiality because the ICRC makes no discrimination as to nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions. Neutrality, because the ICRC does not work in the favor of anyone but to the wounded ones. Independence because it is necessary to maintain autonomy in order to act accordingly with the rest of the principles.
Voluntary service is the cornerstone of the Movement, there would be no such organization without the voluntary services of those who give their time and resources to help those in need. Unity because there can only be one Red Cross or one Red Crescent Society in any one country. Universality because all the components of the movement have equal status and share equal responsibilities and duties in helping each other, also it is worldwide.
The movement also provides other services related to help education in poor countries, visiting detainees, protecting civilians during armed conflict, ensuring access to water during armed conflict besides maintaining a life sustainable environment and reuniting families that have been separated whether because of warfare or natural disasters. Furthermore, there are another programs such as the IB Middle Year Programme, which promotes the students’ learning to understand and manage the complexities of the world, and provides them with knowledge in order to take responsible action for the future.
The Red Cross and the MYP share the humanity, independence, voluntary service and unity principles by preparing people to look out for the ones in need. Moreover I consider that the labor the ICRC undertakes it can only be described as the most humanly heroic one. The RC really applies its principles into the job it performs. It injects humanity during inhuman situations and it is certainly an organization that brings the world together in faith through solidarity towards the wounded and those in need.