International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

Comité international de la Croix-Rouge (CICR)
Comité Internacional de la Cruz Roja (CICR)
Internationales Komitee vom Roten Kreuz (IKRK)

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1863-02-17 Geneva Switzerland


17 Feb 1863, Geneva (Switzerland), following an appeal made by Henry Dunant for relief societies to be formed to care for the wounded in wartime that would be recognized and protected through and international agreement. In 1863, a charitable association known as 'Geneva Society for Public Welfare' set up a 5 member commission to consider Dunant's appeal. The commission founded the ICRC under its original name: International Committee for Relief of Wounded Soldiers -- Comité international de secours aux militaires blessés. Present name adopted 1875. Registered in accordance with Swiss Civil Code.

Its mandate to protect and assist the victims of armed conflict has been conferred on it by States through the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 - T-XT4927 - Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at Sea, T-XT4928 - Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, T-XT4929 - Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and T-XT4999 - Geneva Convention on Torture -and their Additional Protocols of 1977 and 2005 - T-XT7760 - Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and Relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), T-XT7761 - Protocol II Additional to the Four 1949 Geneva Conventions Relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-international Armed Conflicts and Protocol III additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Adoption of an Additional Distinctive Emblem (Protocol III), 8 December 2005, as well as T-XT1808 - Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) - successors to T-XT0164 - Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded in Armies in the Field, 1864 (Geneva convention). The ICRC's mandate and legal status set it apart both from intergovernmental agencies, such as UN organizations, and from non-governmental organizations (NGOs). In most of the countries in which it works, the ICRC has concluded headquarters agreements with the authorities. Through these agreements, which are subject to international law, the ICRC enjoys the privileges and immunities usually only granted to intergovernmental organizations, such as immunity from legal process, which protects it from administrative and judicial proceedings, and inviolability of its premises, archives and other documents. The organization has concluded such an agreement with Switzerland, thus guaranteeing its independence and freedom of action from the Swiss government.


Protect and assist civilian and military victims of armed conflicts and internal disturbances on a strictly neutral and impartial basis.


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Assembly (supreme governing body) and Assembly Council (subsidiary body of the Assembly), composed of 5 members elected by the Assembly; both are chaired by ICRC President. Director (executive body). Presidency: President; 2 Vice-Presidents. Offices in 80 countries.


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Consultative Status

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Relations with Inter-Governmental Organizations

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Relations with Non-Governmental Organizations

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Type I Classification

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Type II Classification

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Subjects *

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UN Sustainable Development Goals **

GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-beingGOAL 5: Gender EqualityGOAL 6: Clean Water and SanitationGOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthGOAL 15: Life on LandGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong InstitutionsGOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal



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** UN SDGs are linked to the subject classification.

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