The Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement
The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (RCM) is the largest humanitarian network in the world. It is present in nearly every country and supported by millions of volunteers around the globe. The Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement work to alleviate human suffering. It works to protect life and health, and uphold human dignity, especially during armed conflicts and other crises.
The Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is made up of three distinct bodies. Together they work to prepare for, respond to, and recover from humanitarian crises:
Directs and coordinates the Movement’s response to armed conflicts and other situations of violence. It also works in close cooperation with national societies and provides humanitarian assistance. It advances humanitarian policy, particularly related to international humanitarian law, and acts as the guardian of the Geneva Conventions. The ICRC’s mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims and to provide them with assistance.
represents the Red Cross and Red Crescent national societies from nearly every country. The IFRC coordinates the movement’s response to natural disasters. It works with national societies to support their domestic disaster relief and recovery efforts. The IFRC’s mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by working to prevent and alleviate human suffering.
Currently numbering 190, they exist in nearly every country in the world, including Canada. These societies are members of the IFRC and support ICRC emergency operations. They contribute to Red Cross Movement international humanitarian efforts and respond to domestic emergencies in coordination with public authorities. Their local knowledge and on-the-ground presence often mean that national societies are the first to respond to a humanitarian situation.
Canada has supported the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement for more than 40 years.
Canada contributes financially to ICRC and IFRC humanitarian appeals responding to natural disasters and conflict situations. We also provide institutional support to the ICRC Since June 2012, Canada and the Canadian Red Cross have had a strategic partnership to enhance Canada’s international humanitarian assistance delivery. Through this partnership, we are working together to improve the emergency response in developing countries and with national societies and local communities so they are better prepared to respond to disasters.
Canada also works with the Canadian Red Cross to implement development projects. These projects focus on strengthening access to community health services, and improving community resilience to disasters in Africa and Asia.
The 33rd International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement will be held in 2019.
Canada has supported the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to provided life-saving assistance to millions of people affected by conflict and natural disasters. Some examples of this work include:
- In 2015, in communities in Iraq, Syria, South Sudan, Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, and Nigeria, the International Committee of the Red Cross reached
- 31.3 million people with improved access to water and sanitation services
- 13 million people with emergency relief
- 2.9 million people with health care
- The IFRC and its member national Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies cared for more than 1,400 people in Ebola treatment centres in 2014-2015, and prepared safe and dignified burials for more than 51,500 people
- The Canadian Red Cross rapidly deployed Government of Canada relief supplies and a mobile field clinic to meet the humanitarian needs of those affected by Hurricane Matthew in October 2016
- The Canadian Red Cross launched a Faces of Humanity exhibit to give examples of the roles Canadians play in humanitarian situations
We also work with Red Cross organizations to development projects such as
- In Afghanistan with the Afghan Red Crescent society to develop local skills and improve disaster response
- In Southeast Asia to help reduce the effects of natural disasters particularly on vulnerable communities, including women and children
- In South Sudan working in remote communities to train volunteers who promote better health practices related to preventing maternal and child mortality
- Faces of Humanity
- Building Community Resilience in South Sudan – Judita’s story
- Building Community Resilience in South Sudan - John Victor's story
- Canadian aid worker making vital links in Madagascar
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