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World Red Cross Day 2015

World Red Cross Day is held annually around the globe on 8 May, the day that Red Cross Red Crescent founder Henry Dunant was born.

In 2015 we mark World Red Cross Day by celebrating 50 years of the Fundamental Principles - the humanitarian values that guide our work as an international movement.

Our Fundamental Principles were formally and unanimously adopted at the 1965 International Conference of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement. Yet from the very beginning, when in 1859 Henry Dunant helped sick and wounded soldiers on the battlefield of Solferino, we have seen those principles in action.

And they continue to underpin everything Red Cross does. Across the world, in nearly every nation there is a Red Cross or Red Crescent Society committed to the same set of humanitarian principles. This gives us a unique place in the humanitarian sector.

As the world faces ongoing conflict, our Fundamental Principles are a powerful source of inspiration. They encourage respect for all people regardless of their nationality, race or religion, and remind us that our shared humanity is what counts.

Thanks to the commitment of Red Cross people to uphold the ideals expressed in the Fundamental Principles, we are able to deliver humanitarian services at home and around the world.

On World Red Cross Day we invite people to learn more about the Fundamental Principles, which are listed below.

You can find us on social media #WorldRedCrossDay and #ourprinciplesinaction

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The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, born of a desire to bring assistance without discrimination to the wounded on the battlefield, endeavours, 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 ensure respect for the human being. It promotes mutual understanding, friendship, co-operation and lasting peace amongst all people.


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


In order to continue to enjoy the confidence of all, the Movement may not take sides in hostilities or engage at any time in controversies of a political, racial, religious or ideological nature.


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.

Voluntary service

It is a voluntary relief movement not prompted in any manner by desire for gain.


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


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.