Index :

The Origins of the Red Cross Movement | Use of the Red Cross Symbol

Red Cross Movement Spirit and Seven Fundamental Principles

Founded by Swiss businessman Henri Dunant, the Red Cross Movement is established upon the principles of providing aid during times of war.@On June 24, 1859, Dunant witnessed the Battle of Solferino V when the Austrian Army engaged the allied army of France and Sardinia at the Northern Italian village of Solferino._ The casualties were high V with over 40,000 soldiers killed or wounded on both sides, while corpses were spread in fields across the country._ Dunant, utterly shocked by the sight, rallied the villagers of nearby city Castiglione del Stiviere to provide aid and assistance for the wounded soldiers to the best of their abilities._ He also transformed a local church into a temporary medical facility, while requesting the Chief Medic of the French Army to release several Austrian medical personnel to assist in the humanitarian effort._ Furthermore, he encouraged the medical personnel from both sides to treat patients impartially, regardless of their nationality and affiliation.

After his efforts at Solferino, Dunant published A Memory of Solferino._ In the book, he outlined two famous suggestions: 1. to establish volunteer organizations providing wartime medical aid in every nation, 2. to recognize their neutrality through legally binding international treaties.

With the help from a number of leading individuals in Geneva, Henri Dunant founded the International Committee for Relief to the Wounded in 1863 (renamed The International Committee of the Red Cross in 1875)._ In order to achieve its primary goal of neutrality, the committee persuaded nations to treat wounded military soldiers and medical aid personnel as neutral, instead of hostile, while providing them with respect and protection._ The idea of neutrality is also integrated into a legally binding international treaty to establish a monitoring system against any violations.

In support of the movement, the Swiss Government hosted an international conference in 1864 in which 12 countries signed the Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded in Armies in the Field._ It was also decided that the symbol of a Red Cross on a white background would be used symbolize medical aid for wounded soldiers on the battlefield._ This symbol became a cornerstone of the Red Cross Movement.

Even before Dunant, such individuals as Florence Nightingale had already engaged in providing medical aid on the battlefield._ However, Dunant was the first person to transfer the concept of humanitarianism and compassion for human suffering from its theoretical origins into legal contexts._ He also pioneered the movement to compile wartime humanitarian efforts into the influential International Humanitarian Law in order to better regulate modern warfare._ Thus, the greatness of Henri Dunant lies in his respect for people's rights to live, and in his vision to treat the suffering without prejudice and discrimination.

The symbol of the Red Cross is a unique, worldwide symbol recognized by governments around the world as an icon of humanitarianism._ For over 100 years, the Red Cross symbol has been present in countless battlefields and areas afflicted by natural disasters, providing a hope for survival and rescue for victims in distress.

The meaning and use of the Red Cross symbol consist of the two areas below:

Symbolic: Indicates that the subject is related to the Red Cross Movement._ The symbol's use has been continuously recognized by the international community, and is legally binding.

Protective: The symbol provides protection for personnel and facilities involved in providing aid and medical assistance during wartime._ It identifies that the personnel or facility is protected under the Geneva Convention, and should not be attacked.

The Red Cross on a white background, a direct opposite of the colors on the Swiss flag, expresses respect for the origin of the Red Cross Movement V Switzerland._ The Red Crescent symbol is used in place of the Red Cross in Islamic nations, with equivalent meaning, usage and legal status.

In order to maintain public respect for the Red Cross symbol, volunteers of the Society must understand its usage and application._ It can only be used with the Society's expressed permission.

Red Cross Movement Spirit





Voluntary Service