A Red Cross Symbol of Peace

Family reunification, Burundi. Credit: ICRC

Family reunification, Burundi. Credit: ICRC

The massacre that Henry Dunant witnessed in 1859 in Solferino inspired the Geneva businessman to create an aid agency that could help civilians and noncombatants in times of conflict.

The massacre that Henry Dunant witnessed in 1859 in Solferino inspired the Geneva businessman to create an aid agency that could help civilians and noncombatants in times of conflict. When he had to choose a symbol, Henry Dunant inverted the colors of the Swiss flag and created the internationally recognized symbol of the red cross. The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement was born. Today, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) operates in 80 countries and directs and coordinates the international activities conducted by the Movement in armed conflicts and other situations of violence. The Red Cross Movement is made up of nearly 100 million members, volunteers and supporters in 190 National Societies.

The mission of the International Committee of the Red Cross is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of armed conflict, to provide them with assistance and prevent suffering by promoting international humanitarian law and universal humanitarian principles.

Switzerland’s most important international humanitarian partner, the ICRC receives nearly one-third of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation’s financial resources for humanitarian aid. Switzerland’s support for and partnership with the ICRC also ensures its timely and effective response to emergencies, the protection of civilians, and the provision of health care in the field.



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