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The Red Cross

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I have chosen to find info on The Red Cross, because I have heard much about it in the news and other places, but I still don't know what kind of organization it is, and what they actually do.


The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is an international movement. It's only purpose is to discover and stop disrespect and crimes against human beings, while not caring about religion, ethnicy or belief. The movement is neutral and works to protect people in wars and civil conflicts. It's main task is to coordinate the cooperation between it's national sectors. Internationally, the movement lead and organize the community in conjunction with large disasters and catastrophes.


The man behind it all

Until the middle of the 19th century, there was no good organization or department to help the hurt and wounded on the battlefield within the army, and no neutral organization to treat those who got hurt.


In June, 1859, the Swiss business man Henry Dunant was on a trip to Italy to discuss the problems about his business problems in Algerie, which was occupied by France. When he arrived in Solferino on the 24th of June, he witnessed the Battle of Solferino, a part of the war between Austria and Sardinia. On a single day, almost 40 000 soldiers from both sides were killed or wounded on the battlefield. Dunant was shocked by the gruesome result of the battle, the suffering soldiers, and the almost non-existant medical help.


The original purpouse of the trip was forgotten, and he helped the wounded for several days, and managed to motivate civilians to help everybody, while staying neutral. Home in Genève he wrote the book Memories from Solferino, which he sent to politicians, leaders, and military all over Europe. In addition to depicting his experiences on the battlefield, he argued to create a national, voluntary and neutral organization to treat wounded soldiers in war. He also asked people to make international rules which guaranteed the neutrality, immunity and protection of people helping wounded soldiers.


In 1864 the Genève convention was made, and signed by 12 countries. Less than a year later, national associations were made in several countries all around Europe.


The Red Cross

In 1867, the International Committe of the Red Cross (ICRC) was created, but it was not until 1976 it got its name. In 1919 the Red Cross was expanded to not only help wounded soldiers, but also civilian victims of man made and natural disasters. As of now, its tasks are the following:

  • Keep watch to see that people abide the Genève convention in conflicts.
  • Organize and help those who are wounded one the battlefield.
  • Monitor the treatment of prisoners of war.
  • Aid in the work to locate missing people in an armed conflict.
  • Aid in the protection of civilians.
  • Negotiate between countries in war.


Most people know the red cross logo, but did you know that a crescent, a diamond, a lion and a star also existed?


The Red Cross

This was made by reversing the colors of the Swiss flag.


The Red Crescent

This symbol was originally used in Turkey and Egypt, but quickly adapted to nearly every country with a majority of Muslims.


The Red Crystal

This was made to be a neutral symbol, which didn't symbolize Christianity, Islam or any religion. It was recognized by the ICRC in 2006.


The Red Lion with Sun

This symbol was used by Iran, but it is not in use anymore, since the country switched to the Red Crescent in 1980.


The Magen David Adom

This symbol is used in Israel. It wasn't recognized by the ICRC before 2006 and led to the creation of the Red Crystal.

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