National Societies of Red Cross act as auxiliaries to the public authorities of their own countries in the humanitarian field and provide a range of services including disaster relief, health and social programmes, and assistance to people affected by war. Together, the National Societies have 97 million members and volunteers, and 300,000 employees, assisting some 233 million beneficiaries each year.

The moral code of the Movement and its ethics have found expression in its seven Fundamental Principles. They represent the essence and the basis of the Movement, inspiring its activities, and uniting the National Societies. 
Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement 

  • Humanity 
    The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, born of a desire to bring assistance without discrimination to the wounded on the battlefield, endeavours, in its international and national capacity, to prevent and alleviate human suffering wherever it may be found. Its purpose is to protect life and health and to ensure respect for the human being. It promotes mutual understanding, friendship, cooperation and lasting peace amongst all people. 
  • Impartiality 
    It makes no discrimination as to nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions. It endeavours to relieve the suffering of individuals, being guided solely by their needs, and to give priority to the most urgent cases of distress. 
  • Neutrality 
    In order to continue to enjoy the confidence of all, the Movement may not take sides in hostilities or engage at any time in controversies of a political, racial, religious or ideological nature. 
  • Independence 
    The Movement is independent. The National Societies, while auxiliaries in the humanitarian services of their governments and subject to the laws of their respective countries, must always maintain their autonomy so that they may be able at all times to act in accordance with the principles of the Movement. 
  • Voluntary Service 
    It is a voluntary relief movement not prompted in any manner by desire for gain. 
  • Unity 
    There can be only one Red Cross or one Red Crescent Society in any one country. It must be open to all. It must carry on its humanitarian work throughout its territory. 
  • Universality 
    The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, in which all Societies have equal status and share equal responsibilities and duties in helping each other, is worldwide.