Promoting principles and values

In a world with increasing isolation, tension and recourse to violence, it is clear that the Red Cross Red Crescent must champion the individual and community values which encourage respect for other human beings and a willingness to work together to find solutions to community problems.

The IFRC has embarked on a consistent and inspirational approach to promoting humanitarian values and the seven Fundamental Principles of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

The seven Fundamental Principles are: humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality.

The aim is to influence the behaviour of the people we work with, through a better understanding of the Fundamental Principles and humanitarian values. The three main target groups are those working within Red Cross Red Crescent National Societies, public and private authorities, and members of the communities where we work.

The main priorities for this area of work are:

  • Developing a better understanding internally.
    Initiatives have been developed to ensure that Red Cross Red Crescent volunteers and staff understand and act on the basis of the Fundamental Principles in their work with vulnerable people in times of peace, disaster or armed conflict. Training includes: the legal and ideological basis of the Red Cross Red Crescent, decision-making processes and mandates as well as communications and relations with others
  • Raising awareness of public and private authorities.
    Ensuring that partner authorities understand how Red Cross Red Crescent works will facilitate better cooperation. Informing these groups about operational procedures, National Societies' auxiliary status, and the need to respect the emblem, for example, are all important elements in building good working partnerships.

Influencing behaviour in the community

By applying these principles and values in our work with communities and vulnerable groups, we can show their importance. Based on experience and operational capacity, Red Cross Red Crescent can be a catalyst for change and make a difference in the way people behave towards each other. The following are values that the Movement has formally stated it believes to be of importance for external promotion:

  • the protection of life, health and human dignity
  • respect for the human being
  • non-discrimination on the basis of nationality, race, gender, religious beliefs, class or political opinions
  • mutual understanding, friendship, cooperation and lasting peace among people
  • service by volunteers 



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