IRRC No. 214

The Fundamental Principles of the Red Cross (V)

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The principle goes on to state that the Red Cross may not take sides in hostilities. This refers to neutrality in the military domain, and this is indeed the initial understanding of neutrality.The affirmation is an obvious one, but it is nonetheless essential. Some people have found it too laconic, even curt. It is true enough that the expression should apply to all forms of conflict and not only to military operations in the narrow sense. Furthermore, it should cover not only conflicts between nations but also civil wars and internal disorders. It might accordingly be better to say, the Red Cross may not take sides in armed conflicts of any kind.

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