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FCO marks World Red Cross Day

World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day highlights vital role of world's largest independent humanitarian network

Today (Friday 8 May) marks World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day. This day celebrates the essential humanitarian assistance and protection provided by members of the movement, who often work in some of the most difficult environments providing assistance in times of armed conflict and natural disaster.

Across the world their staff and volunteers are saving lives and helping the most vulnerable communities. And in those areas of greatest insecurity, where other organisations and states often cannot reach, they face the daily threat of violence in order to carry out their humanitarian mission.

As events around the world all too regularly remind us this work remains as vital as it has ever been. The recent international relief effort in Nepal following the earthquake and the dedication and bravery shown by its members is a stark reminder of this.

The UK is proud to be a strong supporter of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

We work closely with the movement on humanitarian assistance and International Humanitarian Law (IHL) matters across the world. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) as custodians of the Geneva Conventions has a special role to play in IHL.

This year, 2015 will see the 32nd quadrennial International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent take place in Geneva. The UK looks forward to working with states and the movement to further joint progress on humanitarian issues including preventing and responding to violence, safeguarding access to humanitarian services and reducing disaster risk.

We join with others worldwide in celebrating World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day and reaffirming the value of the Fundamental Principles as part of the global good.

Further information

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent movement is the world’s largest independent humanitarian network, and is composed of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and 189 individual National Red Cross and National Red Crescent Societies.

The National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have special roles as humanitarian auxiliaries to their governments and work and undertake a wide variety of emergency response and preparedness activities, as well as those aimed at the promotion of health and social care, within their territories. The UK National Society, the British Red Cross Society (BRCS), is the government’s formally recognised auxiliary in the humanitarian field and was incorporated by Royal Charter in 1908.

All of these Red Cross and Red Crescent organisations are bound together by the seven Fundamental Principles of the Movement: humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality. The Fundamental Principles were adopted in their present form 50 years ago this year.

See the following for examples of the Fundamental Principles in action: www.fundamentalprinciples.today

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