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Humanity: a fundamental value of the Red Cross

19 March 2024

At the heart of the Red Cross mission lies a fundamental principle: Humanity. This timeless value has guided the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement since its very beginnings, spreading a vision of compassion and mutual aid throughout the world.

The origins of this mission can be traced back to a time when battlefields were the scene of unspeakable suffering. The first Geneva Convention, established in 1864 and largely influenced by the efforts of Henry Dunant, founder of the Red Cross, was drawn up in this context. This Convention established the fundamental principles for the protection of the wounded, prisoners and medical personnel during wars, thereby laying the foundations of modern international humanitarian law.

The Red Cross was born of a profound desire to help everyone, regardless of origin, creed or social status. This commitment to helping the most vulnerable, wherever they are, is ingrained in the very DNA of our organisation.

Today, the Red Cross continues to work tirelessly to prevent and alleviate human suffering, whatever its nature or cause. Whether at the scene of armed conflict, during natural disasters or in communities affected by poverty and disease, our organisation ensures that it provides aid in a way that preserves the dignity and autonomy of individuals, respecting their ability to make decisions and exercise their free will.

This value transcends national borders and cultural barriers. It inspires mutual understanding, friendship and cooperation between peoples. By promoting dialogue and encouraging solidarity, the Red Cross is committed to building a world where human dignity is respected and peace is a tangible reality.

This value inspires cooperation and our actions in the field. The Red Cross wants to show that Humanity is much more than an abstract concept: it is a concrete commitment to each individual, a reflection of our common humanity.

By embracing this essential value, together we can create a future where everyone can live in safety, dignity and hope.