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The History of the International Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement


Small number of people supported his idea, and among them were General Guillaume-Henry Dufour, Gustave Moynier, Louise Appia and Theodore Maunoir. Five of them gathered together for the first time on February 17th 1863. and established „International Committee for relief to the wounded“. Known as „Committee of Five“, they started to spread the idea over the world. Dufour opened the Conference on October 26th, which gathered 36 representatives from 16 countries. Ten days after the Conference, they adopted 10 resolutions, and suggested that within every country there should be one National Committee for the relief to the wounded, and the condition for that was the request that medical services, volunteers and wounded are protected, to be declared as „neutral“ and „protected“. Also, they adopted red cross on the white sheet, as the symbol of protection and identification, which is opposite of the Swiss flag, as the sign of appreciation to Henry Dunant. This represented the precursor of the foundation of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

In Geneva, in August 22nd 1864, the first Convention for the protection of wounded on land during war was signed. The protection was in 1868. extended to wounded and shipwrecked military personnel at sea.

General Dufour and Federal counselor Jacob Dubs, on July 17th 1866, founded Swiss Red Cross. Training of volunteers for providing support to sick and wounded started all over the world. Warehouses were stock with bandages, blankets and other necessary equipment. In the following years, numerous Red Cross Societies were founded.

Red Cross was tested very soon, when the French-German war began in 1870.

Red Cross was perceived as the organization which should provide support in peacefultime, provide help to the sick, older persons, disabled or persons in need. The support was organized in the case of natural and other disasters.

Henry Dunant was, not only the founder of this important idea, but also a visionary. He predicted World War I.


 Despite everything, he was forgotten. Dunant lived completely alone, until a journalist Georg Baumbereger, who started to explore his life, visited him. Then again, the attention was focused on Henry Dunant, and he received the first Nobel Prize, at the age of 73. All the money he got, he gave to charity.

National Societies joined together in 1919, and established Federation of Red Cross Societies.

 International Movement of Red Cross/Red Crescent Societies is consisted of 186 National Societies (Montenegro Red Cross is the 186th member of the Movement, after declaration of state independence), International Committee of the Red Cross, International Federation of Red Cross/Red Crescent Societies, as well as International Conference with signatory states to the Geneva conventions.

 Max Huber, President of the International Court of justice, who was also the President of International Committee of the Red Cross, marked the Red Cross organization. As the President of International Committee of the Red Cross, he used great experience and knowledge in international law. He tried to persuade the state that the civil population had to be protected in the case of war.