Keeping humanity alive: World Red Cross Red and Red Crescent Day 2024

Posted on Thursday, May 9th, 2024

May 8, 2024 – Colombo, Sri Lanka – World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day is a day of significance and reflection, honouring the legacy of Henry Dunant, the founder of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, and the Movement’s enduring commitment to humanitarian action for over 160 years. This year’s theme “Keeping Humanity Alive” resonates deeply with the spirit of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in a world inundated by armed conflict and violence, natural disasters, climate-related crises, epidemics, food insecurity and mass displacement.

To mark the day, Sri Lanka Red Cross Society (SLRCS) organised a number of events across all 25 districts along with their twenty-five district branches in Sri Lanka, together with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) with the participation of local communities and volunteers. The events embodying the spirit of compassion and solidary included tree planting, blood donation campaigns, awareness walks and other activities designed with the intention of benefiting those in need.

The national event of the SLRCS took place in the Monaragala District Branch, featuring a tree planting activity, a walk, a dissemination drama, donation of walker devices, and a volunteer appreciation program celebrating the dedication and resilience of Red Cross volunteers who play a vital role in keeping humanity alive.

The President of the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society, K. Balakrishnan, expressed his gratitude and pride in the organisation’s volunteers, stating, “On this World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day, we honour the tireless dedication of our volunteers who embody the principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity, and universality. Their unwavering commitment to serving those in need is truly commendable.”

Similarly, the Director General of the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society, Dr. Mahesh Gunasekara, emphasised the significance of the day, stating, “World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day serves as a reminder of our collective responsibility to uphold humanitarian values and support the most vulnerable members of our communities. Through our actions and initiatives, we strive to keep humanity alive and make a positive impact on the lives of those in need.”

Noting the importance of the Red Cross and Red Crescent emblem for neutral, impartial and independent humanitarian action, Severine Chappaz, head of the ICRC delegation in Sri Lanka said “As we celebrate the spirit of humanitarianism, we must note the significance of the Red Cross and Red Crescent emblem. It stands as a shield, safeguarding volunteers and staff, enabling them to carry out their life-saving work and allowing them to access some of the most remote, at-risk communities in crisis in Sri Lanka and around the world. Respect for the emblem helps us preserve the humanity of those affected by crises and preserves our own humanity – today and tomorrow.”

In support of the SLRCS, the ICRC and the IFRC have been long standing partners of the organisation, together serving for the betterment of the people across the island.

About Sri Lanka Red Cross Society:

Established in 1936, Sri Lanka Red Cross Society has been a prominent humanitarian organization dedicated to serving vulnerable communities across the country. Recognized by the International Committee of the Red Cross in 1952, it became a member of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Committed to upholding the principles of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, the organization operates in alignment with the Seville Agreement and the 2030 strategy to ensure the sustainable implementation of its initiatives and programs. With a total membership of 100,000 and 8,500 active volunteers, the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society operates in every administrative district through its 25 branches. The organization remains steadfast in its mission to provide assistance and support to vulnerable populations before, during, and after disasters and health emergencies, working tirelessly to meet the evolving needs of communities across Sri Lanka. For more information, visit:

About the International Committee of the Red Cross:

Established in 1863, the ICRC operates worldwide, helping people affected by conflict and armed violence and promoting the laws that protect victims of war. It is based in Geneva, Switzerland, and works in more than 100 countries. A neutral, independent, impartial organization, its mandate stems from the Geneva Conventions of 1949.