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Introduction

The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS), officially founded in December 1968, is a national humanitarian organization. Since its establishment, it caters to the health and welfare of the Palestinian people and others in need in the OPT and the Diaspora. It has 4,200 employees in oPt (West Bank and Gaza Strip), Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and Iraq in addition to its volunteer network of more than 20,000 people.

PRCS History

PRCS strives to ease human suffering through its Emergency Medical Services (EMS), preventive and curative health care services, rehabilitation, volunteer activities, and programs promoting social and cultural development, with a focus on the most vulnerable members of the society. PRCS also focuses on the dissemination of the humanitarian values, the fundamental principles of the International Movement of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, in addition to International Humanitarian Law.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society was mandated in 1969 to provide humanitarian, health, cultural and social services when and where needed to the Palestinian population. Following the 1993 Oslo peace accord and the formal establishment of a Ministry of Health (MOH) by the Palestinian Authority (PA), PRCS, in 1996 and 1999, was mandated by the Palestinian Authority to provide National Ambulance and Blood Transfusion and Pre-Hospital Emergency Services in oPt and Health Service in the Diaspora. The PRCS assumed the role of a complementary body to the public authorities, targeting the needs of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups within the Palestinian population. The PRCS has become one of the main non-profit providers of medical and social welfare services in the oPt. Despite the many obstacles and difficulties, the PRCS persists in providing humanitarian services and support to its people, through its branches in Palestine, as well as in Arab countries where Palestinians reside in large numbers.

The PRCS is a full member of the International Movement of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, and therefore adheres to the Movement’s basic principles: humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality.

The deteriorating humanitarian situation in oPt and Diaspora, coupled with the continued financial crisis, internal strife and recurrent Israeli military incursions into the oPt, put more strain on the National Society’s ability to provide essential services to the population as a result of increased numbers of people requiring emergency care in hospitals and health centre’s.

The Palestine Red Crescent is one of the largest and most reliable provider of health care and social services in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. It is also the only provider of secondary health care services to the Palestinian refugees in the Diaspora ( Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and Iraq) . Due to the financial crisis in oPt and serious lack of job opportunities for Palestinians in Lebanon, there are very few options for the Palestine Red Crescent to generate income from its programs and services. This leaves it vulnerable and dependent on external funding. With years of deteriorating economic and humanitarian conditions, and with periods where the authorities could not provide health care and social services, the importance of the Palestine Red Crescent has increased

 

 

Mission

To provide humanitarian assistance, health and social services to the Palestinian people when and where needed. That is to prevent and alleviate human suffering wherever it may be found, to protect life and health and ensure respect for the human being, in times of peace and armed conflict and other emergencies, to work for the prevention of disease and for the promotion of health and social welfare, and to encourage voluntary service.

Vision

PRCS will be the leading humanitarian organization responding to the needs of the Palestinian population including the Diaspora, delivering quality humanitarian services and disseminating the Movement’s Principles and International Humanitarian Law, with continued commitment to leveraging inaccessibility and inequality to health and social services, supporting the rights of vulnerable groups.

 

Strategy

PRCS Mandate and Legal Basis:

 PRCS was founded on 26 December 1968. In September 1969, it was mandated by the sixth session of the Palestinian National Council held in Cairo to provide humanitarian and health services to Palestinians wherever they may be.

In 1996, the Palestinian National Authority charged PRCS with the responsibility of providing Emergency Medical Services to Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory.

PRCS complements the Palestinian Health Ministry and is a full member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. As such, it endeavors to promote the health and social conditions of Palestinians.

The Seven Fundamental Principles of the International Movement:

1.     HUMANITY

The Red Cross and Red Crescent, 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 to ensure respect for the human being. It promotes mutual understanding, friendship, co-operation and lasting peace amongst all peoples.

From this key principle stem the six other foundations of the International Movement. It is with these words that the Movement calls for tolerance, patience, forgiveness, mercy and caring,inter alia.

2.     IMPARTIALITY

The International Movement makes no discrimination as to nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions. It endeavours only to relieve suffering, giving priority to the most urgent cases of distress.


This principle includes the three following elements: non-discrimination, the provision of help based on need, and impartiality.

1.   Non-discrimination: This is the Movement’s second most important principle, and is linked to the principle of humanity. The Movement does not apply distinctions to human beings in the provision of services, providing care and assistance to all those in need in an equitable manner. It believes that discrimination is among the root causes of conflicts and wars.

2.  The provision of help based on need: Also called ‘equitableness’, this principle means the provision of relief in a manner that takes into account how much people are suffering or how urgent their needs are.

3.    Impartiality: impartiality in its true sense requires that subjective distinctions be set aside. It obliges the Movement’s members to provide services without favoring or prejudice. It also requires an objective and detailed examination of problems and a continuous effort to avoid all potential bias.  

3.     NEUTRALITY

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

Neutrality is an attitude which must guide every step taken by the Movement's components. It requires utmost self-restraint.

4.     INDEPENDENCE

The International Movement is independent. 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 Movement’s principles.

To avoid losing its identity, the International Movement must resist any interference and maintain its autonomy.

5.     VOLUNTARY SERVICE

The International Movement is a voluntary relief movement not prompted in any manner by desire for gain.

This principle is directly linked to the principle of humanity. For the Movement to fulfil its mission, it needs generous volunteers willing to donate their money and/or time to the Movement.

6.     UNITY

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

7.     UNIVERSALITY

The International Movement, in which all Societies have equal status and share equal responsibilities and duties in helping each other, is worldwide.

This principle includes the three following concepts: universality, equality amongst national societies, and solidarity.

CONTEXT:

Since its inception, PRCS has regularly prepared strategic and opretaional plans, taking into account both the needs and the specificities of the Palestinian people.

Following the consolidation of PRCS’ programs and activities in Palestine and the Diaspora at the Society’s seventh Conference in 1996, a clearer and more relevant Strategic Plan was drafted and became the Society’s main reference document for 2005 – 2010. The Plan was reviewed at the Society’s ninth Conference and extended to 2012. It defined the Society’s goalstaking into account political and local developments, including evolving health services provided by the PNA andevents affecting living conditions in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem, such as the presence of two distinct authorities operating in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the blockade on the Gaza Strip, land confiscation measures, the building of settlements and the Wall of Separation.

Concomitantly, PRCS upheld its autonomy and neutrality and bolstered its mission through the provision of humanitarian services to Palestinian communities in Palestine and the diaspora.

Following the ninth PRCS Conference, the Society’s operational plans were prepared to reflect the strategic directions contained in the revised Plan as well as developments on the ground. Its intervention mechanisms were assessed with particular focus on those used during the Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip in 2008/2009. This review, executed in full cooperation with International Movement constituents, showed that PRCS was capable of responding to urgent and recurrent needs corresponding to a chronic disaster.

This Palestinian ‘chronic disaster’ has shaped the Society’s action at the local, national and regional levels. It forced PRCS toclarify and improve its intervention mechanisms over the past three years, and has contributed to enhancing the Society’s programs, ensuring linkages among them and between them and programs implemented by complementary institutions. Utmost priority was given to institutional buildingand to strengthening PRCS’financial, technical and organisational capacities in line with the Society’s programs and services.

Alongside these efforts, the PNA endeavored to develop its own programs and services. This is reflected in the National Development Plan 2011 -2013 which committs to upgrading social care services by «maintaining a high level of access to basic education and health sevices, as well as providing essential social protection to alleviate poverty and protect vulnerable groups».

In its Strategic Plan 2011 – 2013, the Palestinian Ministry of Health targeted a number of strategic goals. The Ministry’s mission statement is as follows: «In partnership with stakeholders, to develop the institutional capacity of the Ministry of Health of a future independent State of Palestinian in order to ensure good governance of the health sector, leadership in policy making and regulation of the health system, the promotion of better health and the provision of accessible, quality health services in both the public and the private sectors». Targetsdetailed in the Plan encompass «care for vulnerable groups, includig those isolated in the Gaza Strip, the Jordan valley, East Jerusalem and in areas adjacent to the apartheid wall».However, lack of financial means due to limitedlocal resources and external aid caused by the world economic crisis or due to political considerations have prevented the PNA from achieveing these goals.

According to the Plan, chronic or Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) are a key challenge for the health system in Palestine. Several factors including politics, urbanization, globalization and the stressful Israeli occupation are contributing to the increasing prevalence of risk factos such as smoking, unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity. This corresponds with a rise in the incidence of NCDs in Palestine and the increasing prevalence of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and neoplasms, which are the leadig causes of disability and deaths in Palestine.

Moreover, a joint study by the Palestine Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) and the Palestinian Ministry of Social Affairs showed that 7% of Palestinians face difficulties in performing functional activities while 2.7% of the population in Palestine suffer from at least one disability.

The six-year-old Israeli blockade on Gaza and the war against the Strip in 2008/2009 have led to a further deterioration of conditions there. 1300 Palestinians were killed while another 5300 were injured during the 2008/2009 aggression which lasted for 22 days. An 8-day similar aggression in 2012 left 189 Palestinians dead and 1350 injured. It also caused material losses estimated at 300 million dollars. These wars damaged a large part of health and education infrastructure, affecting both the social fabric and the economy of the Gaza Strip.According to the PCBS, 38% of households in Gaza live under the poverty line. To respond to this situation, PRCS stepped-up its services in the Strip, focusing on a number of key strategic objectives such as disaster preparedness and chronic disasters. This new reality also forced PRCS to strengthen the role of its branches and increase reliance on trained volunteers in all fields.

The Wall of Separation and military checkpoints have isolated entire Palestinian communities, including in East Jerusalem, making access to them quasi impossible. Settlement expansion, land confiscation and increasing violence by settlers in the West Bank seriously hinder services in affected areas which cover an estimated 60% of the West Bank.

According to PCBS statistics for 2012, the number of Palestinians living in the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem, and in the Gaza Strip is estimated at 4.35 million (2.21 million males (50.8%) and 2.14 million females (49.2%)), of which about 44% are refugees. Children under 15 make up 41% of the population against 60% for those under 36 and less than 3% for those over 65. Many children suffer from social problems, dropping out of school and joining the workforce, while others face difficultiesdue to poverty or to family issues. Better quality education is needed, including the provision of high-quality and affordable kindergartens. The Palestinian society is considered a young society. According to PCBS reports, 33% of Palestinians are between 15 and 29 years old. Most of them are unemployed, which has a negative impact on their health, social and psychological welfare. Women also face several challenges including limited access to the job market, increased violence (see PCBS data for 2013) and high unemployment rates (estimated at 32.9% in 2012). In general, households headed by women are poorer than those headed by men.

PCBS 2010 figures show that 18% of households in the West Bank live under the poverty line, with 9% living in extreme poverty. Living conditions deteriorated due to the sharp rise in prices over the past two years which was not accompanied by an increase in income.

The living conditions of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are complex: scarce employment opportunities, lack of PLO and PNA services especially in the health sector as well as high drug abuse, drop-out, immigration and divorce rates. This situation has adversely affected PRCS’ work in Lebanon while at the same time placing an ever-bigger burden upon it. It has also hindered the development of the Society’s backstopping programs and curbed its central role in the health field.

As Palestinian refugees in Syria are undergoing a second displacement, their brothers in Lebanon are faced with the burden of housing their relatives from Syria. UNRWA, on the other hand, has reduced its assistance to Palestinian refugees in Lebanon to compensate for its increased assistance to those from Syria, deepening the tragedy of all Palestinian refugees.

According to the World Bank (World Bank Report on the State of the Palestinian Economy, 2013), occupation is the foremost obstacle to development in Palestine, costing the Palestinians economy 3.4 billion dollars annually. It is also the direct and indirect cause of most health and social problems.Moreover, due to its geographical location, Palestine is highly vulnerable to natural disasters, including a potentially devastating future earthquake (Jalal Dabeek, 2013). Given Palestine’s lack of preparedness for such a disaster as well as its high population density, especially in the Gaza Strip, such a disaster could cause large-scale human losses. Israel’s control of Palestine’s borders and of its land, sea and air, as well as military checkpoints which isolate Palestinian areas, will negatively affect relief efforts should such a disaster take place.

The world financial crisis has also impacted Palestinians, reducing external aid on which the PNA and PRCS both depend. To limit the impact of this crisis, PRCS is strengthening its strategic partnerships, especially with International Movement constituents, whileat the same timeboosting its self-generated resources.

METHODOLOGY:

1.     Adoption of cooperative planning: A committee was created comprising representatives from PRCS’ senior management and branches to prepare for the new Strategic Plan;

2.     Reviewof PRCS’ documents: The Committee reviewed the Society’s previous Strategy,performance assessments and relevant programs, as well as Palestinian sectorial plans;

3.     Examining of  IFRC Strategy 2020 and the Palestinian National Strategy 2011-2013;

4.     Analysis of PRCS’ internal and external environment: The Committee heldmeetings, workshops and discussions with local, national and regional (Lebanon) partners with the participation of community-based organizations. A SWOT analysis was performed. These efforts helped deepen dialogue, gather facts, engage partners in the drafting of the Plan and build community-based partnerships.

Crises and Disaster Resilience through Community Empowerment

In 2009, PRCS’tenth Conference decided to extend the Society’s Strategic Plan till 2012. Thereafter, a workshop was organized to discuss the promotion of community-based work in Palestine. PRCS endorsed the increased focus on community work and development programs in order to assist communities and ensure their self-development. The workshop stressed the importance of providing support to local communities to help them face emergency situations through awareness-raising programs and skill enhancement activities.

Based on this vision and taking into account the IFRC Strategy 2020, PRCS promoted community-basedactivities, focusing on empowering communities, enhancing their resilience through skills and knowledge, helping them to organize and ensuring that they are open, capable of using available resources and of managing their affairs. Over the past four years, PRCS implemented a series of community-based programs in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. These include the Community-based Disaster Prevention Program, the Community and Elementary School-based Psychosocial Support Program, the Community-based Special Education Program and the Community-based First Aid Development Program (in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Lebanon) with the help of more than 80 voluntary women committees. It is also through community-based activities, volunteers and committees that PRCS is currently providing relief services to Palestinian refugees in Syria.

Despite the many PRCS achievements over the past few years, humanitarian and health conditions in Palestine and the Diaspora deteriorated due to changes in the world and regional contexts, reducing Palestinians’purchasing power and increasing poverty, ignorance and unemployment levels. The lack of funds available to government institutions limited the provision of humanitarian services to those in need, affecting their health, social and psychological conditions.

Developments in the region, mainly in Syria, and the impact thereof on Palestinian refugees in both Syria and Lebanon, has placed a new burden on PRCS at least on the short term. PRCS, through its many hospitals and centers, is the second provider of health and social services to Palestinian refugees (UNRWA being the main provider). UNRWA estimated the number of Palestinian refugees in Syria at 620 000 in 2013 (10% of total Palestinian refugees). 75% of them live in Al Yarmouk camp. When the Syrian crisis started in 2011, tens of thousands of Palestinian refugees, mostly from Al Yarmouk, were displaced. Currently, only 40 thousand refugees remain in Al Yarmouk. They lack the necessary health services due to attacks on PRCS’ centers and hospitals and to restrictions onits freedom of movement. The majority of refugees displaced from Al Yarmouknow reside in other parts of Damascus and in Al Awdeh refugee camp in Homs, where the total population has tripled. 80 thousand Palestinian refugees fled to Lebanon. Most of them live in Ein el Hilwa Camp where the total population has increased by 16%.

This second displacement of Palestinian refugees –the first one being in 1948-, accompanied by a loss of livelihoods, has deprived them of social and economic security and has led to an increase in poverty levels. The fact that they are now housed in over-crowded homes in other refugee camps in Syria and Lebanonwill undoubtedly increase the prevalence of disease caused by unsanitary living conditions.

Economic, political and social transformations brought about by world and regional crises will deepen and protract the suffering of Palestinian refugees, increasing the number of underprivileged populations and exacerbating the vulnerabilities of women, children and the elderly. Economic hardships in Palestine will lead to the deterioration of social and health conditions there. As for Palestinian refugees in Syria and Lebanon, their situation will become more complex due to the lack of political stability and security in both countries. Palestinian refugees will have to live in an environment characterized by poverty, unemployment, ignorance, a lack of social and economic security, malnutrition, diseases, vulnerability and stress. Health and Psychosocial interventions will be necessary to build their resilience. Safeguarding the health of Palestinians before and after disasters occur is a sine qua non to enhance steadfastness, mitigate disasters and increase resilience. This requires joint efforts by all members of the civil society.

Challenges faced by PRCS :

1.     Addressing the increasing humanitarian needs of marginalized groups in Palestine and the Diaspora: Public and Non-governmental bodies in Palestine were forced to cut their services due to shrinking resources and a reduction in financial aid. UNRWA, on the other hand, has decreased its assistance to Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. This has led to an increase in marginalization levels and in demand on PRCS’ services. PRCS is currently faced with a number of challenges: it must, on the one hand, continue to develop its programs and services, especially in Syria and Lebanon, in an attempt to limit the impact of the crisis on Palestinian refugees, and on the other hand, it must take part in the development and capacity building of local communities to enable them to face the repercussions of this crisis. 

2.     Boosting PRCS’ Financial Capacities: Securing the necessary financial resources to cover needs is a challenge for PRCS, given the regional (Arab Spring and crisis in Syria) and world (natural disasters) contexts. Moreover, austerity policies around the world have led to a reduction in humanitarian aid by 4% in 2012 compared to 2011 (UN Report, 2013), while donor-imposed requirements are increasing. A strategy is needed to help secure resources to ensure the sustainability of PRCS services, including through resource mobilization mechanisms, building local and international partnerships and enhancing partnerships with the private sector based on the international community’s commitment to helping Palestinians.

3.     Enhancing and Developing Services:Meeting the needs of local communities and all those in need is a top PRCS’ priority. However, national and regional developments have increased social, political and economic interdependencies, requiring comprehensive and multisectoral interventions to tackle the root causes of problems with the participation of all stakeholders, including PRCS. Comprehensive and integrated community-wide action is needed to help PRCS develop the necessary tools and procedures to this end with support from partners on all levels.

4.     Developing Human Resources: Human Resources are the Society’s main capital. Its staff and volunteers constitute a network in Palestine and the Diaspora, helping those in need and disseminating PRCS’ mission, principles and values. A wide array of skills is needed to cover needs and priorities which differ from one area to another (Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt). Additional efforts must be made to meet the increased demand on humanitarian services and to ensure that the Society participatesin bringing about change in local communities. PRCS must focus on building the capacities of its volunteers and on motivating them to ensure that it achieves its objectives.

5.     Developing internal regulations and policies: Clarifying PRCS’ roles will help it better respond to the needs of disadvantaged groups and mitigate disasters on both the short and the long term. PRCS must develop its regulations, policies and procedures to help guide, coordinate and define the roles of staff, volunteers and the local community. This will increase the Society’s resilience and ensure that it continues to provide quality services.

PRCS’ MISSION :

As a national humanitarian Society and a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, PRCS seeks to disseminate the principles of the Movement while helping to provide health and social services to Palestinians under occupation and in the Diaspora. It also endeavors to alleviate the suffering of victims of natural disasters and of disasters caused by local and regional crises and conflicts, by empowering local communities and increasing their resilience.

PRCS’ VISION :

To enhance PRCS’ status and the humanitarian role it plays in the provision of health and social services with a view to alleviating suffering and boosting the resilience of local communities.

PRCS’ PRIORITIES :

1.     Providing health and social services as well as Primary and Secondary Health Care, Emergency and hospital services;

2.     Increasing support to youths, women, children, the disabled and the most disadvantaged groups;

3.     Addressing natural and man-made disasters;

4.     Building partnerships on the local, national, regional and world levels;

5.     Disseminating the principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement;

6.     Ensuring institutional development and building PRCS’ capacities.

Strategic Goals :

1.    Upgrading PRCS’ preparedness and humanitarian interventions in times of disaster, crisis and emergency through:

1.     Providing constant support to Emergency Medical Services and improvingservice quality;

2.     Developing and organizing the Society’s supply system;

3.     Increasing the preparedness of central and secondary operations rooms and strengthening relevant national teams;

4.     Incorporating services in timeof disaster into all contingency plans and programs, and developing secondary health services;

5.     Strengthening the Information and Dissemination Unit, with particular focus on the dissemination of International Movement principles, International Humanitarian Law and the Geneva Conventions inter alia.

2.    Active participation in building the capacities and resilience of local communities and mitigating risks caused by natural and/or man-made disasters, through:

1.     Implementing the Community-based Risk Reduction Program in partnership with local communities, and increasing the role played by PRCS’ branches in the management and implementation of the Program;

2.     Developing the Society’s community-based interventions in a coordinated and integrated manner, focusing on health, psychosocial and rehabilitation interventions;

3.     Increasing the role played by volunteers in support of the Society’s community-based Programs, and attracting new volunteers from local communities.

3.   Continuous institutional and resource development as well as capacity building of PRCS’ branches, sections and departments through:

1.     Upgrading the Society’s Organizational Structure;

2.     Developing regulations and work procedures in line with the Strategy to ensure unified policies and procedures;

3.     Developing job descriptions and staff periodic assessment tools;

4.     Preparing a financial and human resources development strategy that is also suitable for emergencies and is in line with the Society’s needs and programs;

5.     Ensuring the necessary regulatory mechanisms to maintain cohesion and linkages between Senior Management and PRCS’ branches and sections;

6.     Developing the Society’s Planning System.

4.  Provide support to young people, children, women, the disabled, the elderly as well as to all other marginalized groups through:

1.     Implementing the Psychosocial Support Program via health and psychosocial centers, programs and activities;

2.     Implementing the Program for the Rehabilitation and Capacity Development of Disabled Persons;

3.     Ensuring PRCS’ active participation in advocacy and legislative activities to safeguard the rights of marginalized groups;

4.     Diversifying PRCS’ health and social services in line with needs, capacities and resources; and harnessing the voluntary spirit amongst young people to serve both PRCS and local communities, especially marginalized groups;

5.     Enhancing leadership among young men and women based on openness, knowledge and involvement in the decision making process;

6.     Creating a young generation guided by the principles and values of PRCS and the International Movement.

5.    Strengthen local, regional and international partnerships between PRCS and International Movement constituents, international and regional organizations as well as Non-Governmental Organizations through:

1.     Building community level partnerships to overseePRCS’ community-based activities and interventions;

2.     Enhancing partnerships with relevant Palestinian ministries, institutions and government bodies, especially the ministries of health, local government, social affairs, education and the Civil Defense apparatus;

3.     Harnessing social programs to attract private sector support to PRCS;

4.     Developing cooperation, coordination and partnerships with International Movement constituents and other partners, including in the fields of planning, follow-up, evaluation and reporting;

5.     Strengthening partnerships and building a network of relations between PRCS, national societies and humanitarian organizations to help PRCS provide the necessary humanitarian services, especially in times of emergency and disaster.

6.   Contribute to the provision of health care services to address the needs of local communities through:

1.     Promoting community-based Primary Health Care and services as part of PRCS’ efforts to empower local communities;

2.     Enhancing secondary health care services, especially in Lebanon and Gaza;

3.     Developing and standardizing performance indicators and service specifications.

 

 

Principles

The seven principles of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement
Humanity

The Red Cross and Red Crescent, 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 to ensure respect for the human being. It promotes mutual understanding, friendship, co-operation and lasting peace amongst all peoples.

Impartiality

It makes no discrimination as to nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions. It endeavours only to relieve suffering, giving priority to the most urgent cases of distress.

Neutrality

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

Indepenence

The Red Crescent 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 Red Cross and Red Crescent principles.

Voluntary Service

The Red Crescent is a voluntary relief organization not prompted in any manner by desire for gain.

Unity

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

Universality

The Red Crescent and Red Cross is a world-wide institution in which all Societies have equal status and share equal responsibilities and duties in helping each other.