In the humanitarian field: independence, a guarantee of effectiveness for the Red Cross

17 June 2024

At the heart of Red Cross humanitarian action, one principle remains essential and unshakeable: independence. By exploring this principle, we discover how it enables our organisation to maintain its integrity and provide impartial and neutral assistance, even in the most complex situations.

Why is independence so important?

The importance of independence lies in its ability to preserve the integrity of the fundamental principles of the Red Cross. This autonomy enables our organisation to provide impartial humanitarian aid, without being subject to political or ideological influences, thus ensuring our neutrality and our humanitarian commitment without partiality.

Some of our projects are made possible thanks to financial support from the Luxembourg government, such as the services provided by the Social Offices , the emergency reception service for homeless people (SALU) and our relay houses and crèches. However, the services provided by these organisations are governed by our fundamental principles.

The foundations of the Red Cross: the principle of independence

The principle of independence means that we preserve our autonomy and always act according to our fundamental principles, even when we are working in collaboration with public authorities in response to humanitarian crises. We are obliged to respect the laws of the countries in which we intervene.

Working together while preserving our freedom to act

When working with local authorities to meet humanitarian needs, Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies maintain their independence. This freedom allows us to reject any request that is contrary to our principles, thus preserving our integrity and our dedication to the affected populations.

For example, in the event of a major natural disaster such as an earthquake, the Red Cross rapidly deploys its resources to provide emergency aid, while ensuring that its assistance remains impartial and non-discriminatory. If local authorities ask us to prioritise our actions on the basis of political or religious criteria, the organisation categorically refuses, affirming its commitment to neutrality and impartiality. Our independence ensures that aid reaches those who need it most, without being influenced by external agendas.

Want to find out more about the values of the Red Cross? Discover our principles