The International Federation of
Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
After the First World War, when vast opportunities and experience of the National Society in helping both to the victims of war and the victims of natural disasters and the effects of hostilities became useful, in 1919, the League of Red Cross Societies was founded. In 1991 it was renamed as the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Henry Davison, the president of the American Military Committee of the Red Cross, offered to found the Federation.
The first task of the Federation was to improve the health of the population exposed to severe stress during four years of war. The aim was to "strengthen and unite for the benefit of the health care the existing Red Cross Societies and to promote the formation of new ones".
National Societies (founders) included five countries: Britain, France, Italy, Japan and the United States. Since then, the number of members of the Federation has grown, and now there are 188 members, almost every country has its own national society. Currently, the Federation conducts more than 100 relief operations every year.
The purpose of the Federation according to provisions in the Charter: to inspire, encourage, facilitate and promote at all times all forms of humanitarian activities by National Societies, with a view to preventing and alleviating human suffering, and thereby contributing to the maintenance and promotion of human dignity and peace in the world.
The mission of the Federation, as defined in its Strategy, is to improve the life of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity.
The Charter of Federation includes the following functions:
1. to act as the permanent body of liaison, coordination and study between the National Societies and to give them any assistance they might request;
2. to encourage and promote in every country the establishment and development of an independent and duly recognized National Society;
3. to bring relief by all available means to all disaster victims;
4. to assist the National Societies in their disaster relief preparedness, in the organization of their relief actions and in the relief operations themselves;
5. to organize, coordinate and direct international relief actions in accordance with the "Principles and Rules for Red Cross and Red Crescent Disaster Relief" adopted by the International Conference, and to control them;
6. to encourage and coordinate the participation of the National Societies in activities for safeguarding public health and the promotion of social welfare in cooperation with their appropriate national authorities;
7. to encourage and coordinate between National Societies the exchange of ideas for the education of children and young people in humanitarian ideals and for the development of friendly relations between young people of all countries;
8. to assist National Societies to recruit members from the population as a whole and inculcate the Fundamental Principles and ideals of the Movement;
9. to bring help to victims of armed conflicts, to assist in the promotion and development of international humanitarian law and collaborate with it in the dissemination of this law and of the Fundamental Principles in accordance with agreements with other members of the Movement;
10. to be the official representative of the member Societies in the international field and to protect their interests;