The IFRC has identified violence and the lack of respect for diversity as some of the “key challenges facing our global community”. We are actively engaged in violence prevention, mitigation and response activities around the world.

Violence is a complex problem related to individual thought patterns and behaviour shaped by a multitude of forces within relationships, families, communities and societies. It is a health, social, justice, legal, economic, spiritual, development and human rights issue.

To achieve the IFRC’s mission of improving the lives of the world’s most vulnerable people, we must also address the various forms of violence that deny individuals’ rights to safety, health and human dignity.

Self-directed violence, interpersonal violence and community violence are major concerns for the IFRC, particularly when it affects children and youth. There are close links between violence and other humanitarian problems such as health, migration and discrimination. National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies address violence in various ways including direct assistance, prevention activities and advocacy.

National Society programmes tackle a wide range of issues including:

  • violence against children
  • sexual and gender-based violence
  • suicide
  • substance abuse
  • gang-related violence

Through this work, National Societies are able to understand the complex causes behind violence and, therefore, how to combat the problem.

In the declaration Together for Humanity adopted by the 30th International Conference in 2007, National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies expressed their resolve to work together with their partners to: 

  • develop violence prevention and reduction programmes
  • facilitate the rehabilitation of youth affected by violence
  • mobilize community respect for diversity and action against racism, discrimination, xenophobia, marginalization and other forms of exclusion

The principles and values department and a network of National Societies are currently developing a Federation-wide global strategy addressing the social culture of violence.

The IFRC’s breadth of experience can be used to address the causes and consequences of violence in a number of ways:

  • IFRC violence prevention programmes already exist and can be adapted to individual settings. Experience can be drawn from other programmes which prevent injury and improve health such as malaria and HIV prevention, disaster reduction and first aid.
  • With 186 National Societies, the IFRC has the global resources to distribute humanitarian prevention messages, programmes and products.
  • In their auxiliary role to governments, National Societies promote a culture of non-violence.


  • Consultation with the IFRC Youth Commission on the development of the IFRC global strategy addressing the social culture of violence (March 2009, Geneva)
  • High-level meeting on violence (December 2008, Geneva)
  • Working group on urban violence, 7th Pan African Conference (October 2008)

News, speeches and statements

• Eastern Europe: Human trafficking “set to rise”
By Joe Lowry, March 2009. 

• International Women's Day 2009
Address by Ibrahim Osman, IFRC deputy secretary general on International Women's Day, in Geneva, 9 March 2009 

• Youth: Global crises and their impact on social development
Statement by Michael Schulz, Permanent Observer a.i. to the United Nations, in the United Nations Commission for Social Development, in New York. 6 February 2009.


• Human Trafficking in Central Asia. Contribution by Vadim Kadyrbaev, Federation Representative and Executive Vice President of the Kazakhstan Red Crescent Society, to the Special Meeting convened by the Alliance of Experts to Combat Human Trafficking, in Vienna. 24 September 2008.

• International March against Stigma, Discrimination and Homophobia. Speech by Dr Raymond Forde, IFRC vice president, at the First International March against Stigma, Discrimination and Homophobia, in Mexico City. 2 August 2008. 

• Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance: follow-up to and implementation of the Durban Declaration. Statement by Katherine Bundra, IFRC research associate, at the United Nations Human Rights Council, in Geneva. 17 June 2008 

• Promoting a culture of tolerance. Statement by Dr Katrien Beeckman, head of the IFRC principles and values department, at the International Cooperation and Peace Dissemination Workshop on Psycho-social support, organised by the Italian Red Cross (Provincial Committee of Rome), in Rome. 8 June 2008 

• Human Security: consolidation of peace and good governance. Contribution by Markku Niskala, secretary general, during the fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 4), in Yokohama. 29 May 2008. 

• Migrant workers, people trafficking, xenophobia and human rights. Statement by Ms Mandisa Kalako-Williams, IFRC Governing Board member and Secretary-General of the South African Red Cross Society, at the 118th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, in Cape Town. 15 April 2008.

• Human trafficking and organised crime. Statement by Ms Emile Goller, Alternate Permanent Observer to UN Offices in Vienna, at the 17th session of the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, in Vienna . 15 April 2008. 

• African poverty and development priorities. Statement by Daniel Sayi, deputy head of the IFRC Zone Office for West and Central Africa, at the preparatory meeting held in advance of TICAD IV (Tokyo Conference on African Development), in Libreville. 21 March 2008.

• Drugs Demand Reduction. Statement by Shaun Hazeldine, Youth Adviser and National Manager of the Australian Red Cross Save-A-Mate program, at the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs, in Vienna. 12 March 2008.

• Narcotic Drugs: IFRC perspective. Statement by Christopher Lamb, Special Adviser, in the general debate at the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs, in Vienna. 11 March 2008

• Ending female genital mutilation: Red Cross and Red Crescent experience. Statement by Katrien Beeckman, head of the IFRC principles and values department , at the conference-debate organised by the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the International Organisation of Migration and the Inter-African Committee on harmful practices on the health of children and women, in Geneva. 6 February 2008.


WHO - Violence  

Violence Prevention Alliance 


WHO - World report on violence and health, 2002: [EN]  [FR]  [ARABIC]   [SP]

Enhancing Urban Safety and Security — Global Report on Human Settlements 2007

UNICEF - Child Protection Strategy

Red Cross Red Crescent Regional initiatives:

Regional Strategy for Violence Prevention. Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean-RSVP

Better Programming Initiative – Leaflet (pdf)

Lessons from the Better Programming Initiative (pdf)