IRRC No. 306

Dissemination of the humanitarian rules and cooperation with National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies for the purpose of prevention

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When it was founded, the ICRC, recognizing the unpredictable and inescapable nature of war, hoped that it would be able to alleviate the most harmful effects of war by providing protection and assistance and raising awareness1 of international humanitarian law and the need to respect it. Thus all the activities undertaken by the institution are rooted in the reality of war — the degree of medical assistance and relief, for example, depends on the number of victims, while protection for prisoners is specifically given to “persons detained because of the situation”. Similarly, the ICRC's Central Tracing Agency forwards family messages when normal communication channels are severed, traces people who have gone missing because of the conflict, and reunites family members separated by the events. The only ICRC activities that are not exclusively a response to needs resulting from war are the dissemination of knowledge of humanitarian law and principles, and cooperation with the National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

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