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Red Cross

Red Cross Emblem

Red Cross on a white background, is the Emblem of Red Cross, recognized in 1864 as the distinctive sign for medical relief teams on the battle field.
In the Russo-Turkish war the Ottoman empire used a Red Crescent in place of the Red Cross. Egypt too opted for the Red Crescent while Persia chose a Red Lion on a white background. These symbols were written and accepted into the 1929 Geneva Conventions. The IRCS adopted RED CROSS as its emblem.
The National Society make use of the emblem as an indicative device in peacetime and during armed conflicts within the limits stipulated in national legislation, the regulations and its statutes only for activities consistent with the principles set out by International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent.
During the General Assembly and the council of Delegates in November 2005 at Geneva, Red Crystal has been adopted as another emblem for the Red Cross Red Crescent movement.

Who We Are :

The Indian Red Cross is a voluntary humanitarian organization having a network of over 700 branches throughout the country, providing relief in times of disasters/emergencies and promotes health & care of the vulnerable people and communities. It is a leading member of the largest independent humanitarian organization in the world, the International Red Cross & Red Crescent Movement. The movement has three main components, the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC), 187 National Societies and International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Programmes and Activities :

The Mission of the Indian Red Cross is to inspire, encourage and initiate at all times all forms of humanitarian activities so that human suffering can be minimized and even prevented and thus contribute to creating more congenial climate for peace.
The Indian Red Cross's programmes are grouped into four main core areas: Promoting humanitarian principles and values; Disaster response; Disaster preparedness; and Health and Care in the Community.
Red Cross promotes the Humanitarian values , which encourage respect for other human beings and a willingness to work together to find solutions to problems. From the seven fundamental principles, the movement aims to influence the behaviour of all the people.
Disaster response continues to represent the largest portion of IRCS work, with assistance to millions of people annually ranging from refugees to victims of natural disasters.
The sharp increase in the number of natural disasters countrywide in recent years has prompted the Red Cross to devote more attention to Disaster preparedness activities. These aim to make Red Cross Societies and communities more aware of the risks they face, how to reduce their vulnerability, and how to cope when disaster strikes.
Too many people die as a result of no access to even the most basic health services and elementary health education. Health and community care has become a cornerstone of humanitarian assistance, and accounts for a large part of Red Cross spending. Through these programmes, the Red Cross aims to enable communities to reduce their vulnerability to disease, and prepare for and respond to public health crises.
Guiding and supporting the development of its Societies is one of the Red Cross's fundamental tasks and runs through these four core areas and others. Capacity building programmes and activities include : management and volunteer training, improving branch structures, planning, fund-raising and gender equality. creating the opportunity for Red Cross Societies to network .
Other Major activities includes : hospital services, blood bank, HIV/AIDS programmes, home for disabled servicemen ,vocational training centers, tracing activities, maternity , child and family welfare, nursing, junior red cross activities, preparedness and prevention of communicable & infectious diseases, relief operations in fire, railway & other accidents and events .

History of Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement

Young Swiss businessman, Jean Henry Dunant was appalled by the condition of the wounded soldiers he happened to see in the battle field of Solferino , Italy in 1859 during the Franco - Austrian war. He arranged relief services with the help of the local community immediately. He wrote the book 'Memory of Solferino' suggesting that a neutral organization be established to aid the wounded soldiers in times of war. Just a year after the release of this book, an international conference was convened in Geneva to consider the suggestions of Henry Dunant and thus the Red Cross Movement was born. International Red Cross Movement was established by Geneva Convention of 1864. The name and the emblem of the movement are derived from the reversal of the Swiss national flag, to honor the country in which Red Cross was found.

Origin of Indian Red Cross Society

During the first world war in 1914, India had no organization for relief services to the affected soldiers, except a branch of the St. John Ambulance Association and by a Joint Committee of the British Red Cross. Later, a branch of the same Committee was started to undertake the much needed relief services in collaboration with the St. John Ambulance Association in aid of the soldiers as well as civilian sufferers of the horrors of that great war. A bill to constitute the Indian Red Cross Society, Independent of the British Red Cross, was introduced in the Indian Legislative Council on 3rd March 1920 by Sir Claude Hill, member of the Viceroy's Executive Council who was also Chairman of the Joint war Committee in India . The Bill was passed on 17th March 1920 and became Act XV of 1920 with the assent of the Governor General on the 20th March 1920 .

On 7th June 1920 , fifty members were formally nominated to constitute the Indian Red Cross Society and the first Managing Body was elected from among them with Sir Malcolm Hailey as Chairman.


Indian Red Cross Society is a member of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. Relations between the IRCS and the India Delegation of the Federation are strong.


Indian Red Cross Society has partnership with National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, St.John Ambulance, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (IFRC), International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC ), Multinational firms. Individuals and others in supporting IRCS activities. It also coordinates with Indian Government and other agencies ( UNDP, WHO etc )



Seven Fundamental Principles of Red Cross

1. Humanity : The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, born of a desire to bring assistance without discrimination to the wounded on the battlefield, endeavors, 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.

2. Impartiality : It makes no discrimination as to nationally, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions. It endeavors to relieve the suffering of individuals, being solely by their needs, and to give priority to the most urgent cases of distress.

3. Neutrality : In orders to enjoy the confidence of all, the Movement may not take sides in hostilities or engage in controversies of a political, racial, religious or ideological nature.

4. Independence : 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.

5. Voluntary service : It is voluntary relief movement not prompted in any manner by desire for gain.

6. Unity : There can be only one Red Cross Or Red Crescent in any one country. It must be open to all. It must carry on its humanitarian work throughout its territory.

7. Universality : 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.