The Fundamental Principles are an expression of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement’s values and practices. They were developed based on the Movement’s experience responding to suffering and needs over the previous century. The Fundamental Principles are at once operational and aspirational. They serve both as a guide for action and as the Movement’s common identity and purpose.
The Fundamental Principles guide the work and decisions of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement for all Red Cross Red Crescent workers in all situations and at all times.
Proclaimed in Vienna in 1965, the seven Fundamental Principles bond together the Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. They guarantee the continuity of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement and its humanitarian work.
In 2015, National Societies, the IFRC and the ICRC will come together to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Fundamental Principles. The commemoration not only to celebrates this remarkable milestone, but also is an opportunity to share experiences and to learn from one another, and to reassert the contemporary relevance and importance of the Fundamental Principles.
The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, born of a desire to bring assistance without discrimination to the wounded on the battlefield, endeavours, 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. Read more about the principle of Humanity.
It makes no discrimination as to nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions. It endeavours to relieve the suffering of individuals, being guided solely by their needs, and to give priority to the most urgent cases of distress. Read more about the principle of Impartiality.
In order to continue to enjoy the confidence of all, the Movement may not take sides in hostilities or engage at any time in controversies of a political, racial, religious or ideological nature. Read more about the principle of Neutrality.
The Movement 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 the principles of the Movement. Read more about the principle of Independence.
It is a voluntary relief movement not prompted in any manner by desire for gain. Read more about the principle of Voluntary service.
There can be only one Red Cross or one Red Crescent Society in any one country. It must be open to all. It must carry on its humanitarian work throughout its territory. Read more about the principle of Unity.
The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, in which all Societies have equal status and share equal responsibilities and duties in helping each other, is worldwide. Read more about the principle of Universality.