Celebrating the relevance of our Fundamental Principles on World Red Cross Day 2015

Posted on Thursday, May 7th, 2015

08/05/2015 – Colombo, Sri Lanka: On World Red Cross Red Crescent Day, the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society along with the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is celebrating and reaffirming the relevance of our Fundamental Principles: Humanity, Impartiality, Neutrality, Independence, Voluntary Service, Unity and Universality – the core of our humanitarian commitment, values and mission.

At the heart of the mission is the mandate to assist communities affected by disasters, conflict or crisis, wherever and whoever they are.

“Every time you see Sri Lanka Red Cross, we are acting in accordance with the Movement’s Fundamental Principles,” said Jagath Abeysinghe, President of Sri Lanka Red Cross Society. “The Fundamental Principles guide our Movement’s decisions and work no matter the humanitarian challenges we face.”

“These principles safeguard our access to vulnerable communities, and enable us to engage with over a million people annually through programmes such as Disaster Risk Reduction, Health & Care, First Aid, Shelter, and Water & Sanitation” says Tissa Abeywickrama the Director General of Sri Lanka Red Cross Society.

These principles are shared by 17 million dedicated volunteers in 189 Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies around the world. Every day, they work in their own communities and beyond to respond to the needs of the vulnerable.

“Our Fundamental Principles have been at the centre of all major humanitarian operations for over a century. They ensure the trust and acceptance of communities and, ultimately, they enable the Movement to be present on the ground delivering services, even in the most extreme circumstances,” said Yves Daccord, Director-General, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Geneva. “To reach people in crisis, our principles of humanity, neutrality and impartiality can be our only shield.”

50 years after the adoption of the principles, the global humanitarian landscape has become more complex and more severe, driven by worsening conflicts, and the aggravating impacts of climate change, among other factors. These challenges have impacted the ability of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to access people in need.

“Reasserting the Fundamental Principles in today’s complex humanitarian environment can save lives in crisis,” said Elhadj As Sy, Secretary General, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Geneva. “Whether helping communities cope with floods or landslides, supporting people fleeing violence, providing opportunities for education in slums or taking aid into areas of conflict, we have to build trust and make certain that our principles are universally understood and respected at all times.”.

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is commemorating the 50th anniversary of the adoption of its seven Fundamental Principles throughout the year, including through a series of research projects and debates on the principles guiding humanitarian action.

To learn more about the Fundamental Principles and the work of the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society visit: http://www.redcross.lk/who-we-are/principles-and-values/