IRRC No. 119

A Contemporary Look at the International Committee of the Red Cross

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The International Red Cross is an organization of three constituents. The oldest is the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), founded in 1863 by five Geneva citizens following the publication of Henri Dunant's A Souvenir of Solferino. The second is made up of the National Societies of the Red Cross, of the Red Crescent—in the moslem countries—and of the Red Lion and Sun in Iran. There are 114 such societies. There may be only one in each country. (In Israel there is a society similar to a Red Cross Society but it has not yet been admitted into the International Red Cross because its emblem—the Jewish Star—has not been accepted by the International Conferences.) The third constituent is the League of Red Cross Societies which was founded in 1919 and which is the federation of the National Societies. It too has its headquarters in Geneva. Its mission differs from that of the ICRC but the two institutions are linked by an agreement and they co-operate closely in certain cases. The ICRC also co-operates frequently with the National Societies which maintain direct connexion with it.

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