Purpose: To provide relief to victims of disasters and help
people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies, with respect
to humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service,
unity, and universality.
Date of Origin: May 21, 1881
Original Membership: 12 countries originally signed the
Geneva convention but by the time the Red cross was officially formed
there were 32 countries that had signed the Geneva convention.
Geneva convention: This convention/treaty established the
fundamental principle that "wounded or sick combatants, to whatever
nation they may belong, shall be collected and cared for by doctors
wearing a red cross."
Current Membership: There are 175 National Red Cross and Red
Crescent Societies, and there is a National Red Cross or Red Crescent
Society in almost every country of the world today.
Recent Participation: On August 1st, the Red Cross began to
evacuate serious medical cases from the northern province of Sri Lanka
called Vanni. Patients were transferred to the Mannar hospital by
fishing boats protected by the Red Cross emblem. In June, the only
land route to and from Vanni was closed due to military operations, and
since then, the delivery of food and medical supplies into the region
has come to an abrupt stop. The Red Cross has acted as a neutral
intermediary between the Sri Lankan Army and the opposing LTTE to try
to re-open the land route. The Red Cross will continue to help Sri
Lanka's sick until the humanitarian issues that are causing problems
there are resolved. The Red Cross has been in Sri Lanka since 1989.
In Afghanistan, fighting has recently
resumed north of Kabul, creating a need for the Red Cross to increase
its support for medical facilities in the capital and for first-aid
posts near to the front line to make sure that victims of war will
receive immediate care. Several hundred people have been surgically
treated in hospitals since the fighting began. The Red Cross has gone
further than medical help to quicken the making of amends in this
internal conflict, reminding the parties of their obligations to
respecting the lives of others.
After two wars and nine years of embargo, the Red Cross has decided
to address Iraq's growing needs by giving
medical aid as well as water and sanitation assistance. Programs are
being enacted in August of 1999 to repair 10 hospitals as well as 20
health centers. In lieu of recent droughts in Iraq, the Red Cross has
also made plans to improve and add on intake systems for water
treatment plants so that there will be a sufficient amount of drinking
water. Many buildings in Iraq suffered from the 1991 Gulf War and can
no longer respond to essential needs. Many infrastructures need a
good deal of repair and many machines and pieces of equipment have not
been repaired. The Red Cross has been in Iraq since the beginning of
the Iran-Iraq war in 1980 and has spent the last decade helping local
engineers maintain water treatment plants and creating rehabilitation
centers for victims of war. To finance the necessary programs which
are to be implemented in Iraq, the Red Cross has made an appeal for 7.7
million Swiss francs creating a total budget for the Iraq project of
21.7 million francs.
-Helped to eradicate smallpox in 1980
-Polio is almost eradicated along with guinea-worm.
Major efforts have also been taken to curve the spread of HIV
Location: Kobe, Japan.
Visit their web site to learn more at: www.redcross.org