The international Movement

The British Red Cross is part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement with millions of members and volunteers in over 190 countries.

What is the Movement?

The Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is made up of three parts:

  • the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
  • the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)
  • 191 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies around the world, including the British Red Cross.
Infographic displaying the same information as text on this page.

Click on the image to view an infographic that provides an overview of the three parts of the Movement.

The Movement in detail

The International Committee of the Red Cross

Based in Geneva, Switzerland, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is an independent humanitarian organisation, whose role is defined in the Geneva Conventions.

It helps victims of armed conflict and internal crises and co-ordinates the work of National Societies in these situations. ICRC members also visit prisoners-of-war and civilian detainees to inspect their conditions.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

Also based in Geneva, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) co-ordinates international relief provided by National Societies for victims of natural disasters, and for refugees and displaced persons outside conflict zones.

It also supports National Societies with their own development, helping them plan and implement disaster responses and development projects for vulnerable people in their local communities.

National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

The British Red Cross is a National Society. Most countries around the world have a National Red Cross or Red Crescent Society. 

Each Society has a responsibility to help vulnerable people within its own borders, and to work in conjunction with the Movement to protect and support those in crisis worldwide.

Each national society is bound by the Movement’s seven Fundamental Principles: humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity, universality.

As each National Society works to meet local needs, services vary from country to country. For example, some Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies provide a national blood transfusion service, though this is not the case in Britain.

More about the Movement: constitution, rules, regulations and statutes