The international committee of the red cross is a private humanitarian institution boned in Genera conventions of 1949, and the additional protocols of 1977and 2005 have given the ICRC a mandate to protect the victims of international and internal armed conflict. Such victims include the rounded, prisoners, refugees, civilians and other non combatants. The ICRC is part of the international red cross and red crescent movement along with the international federation and 186 national societies. It is the oldest and most honoured organization within the movement and one of the most widely recognized organizations in the world. The ICRR has the noble peace prize three times- in 1917, 1944 and 1963.

Historical background: 
Until the middle of the 19th century, there were no organized and well established army nursing systems for casualties and no safe and protected institutions to accommodate and treat those who never rounded on the battle field. In June, 1959, the sivis business man, Henry Dunant traveled to Italy to meet the French Emperor, Napoleon III with the intention  of discussing the difficulties involved in conducting business in Algeria which at the line was under French occupation when Dunant arrived in the small town of Solferno, he witnessed the battle of Solferino, an engagement in the Austro- Hungarian war: in a single day, about 40,000 soldiers from both sides either died and were left rounded in the battle field. Henry Dunant was shocked by the terrible aftermath of the fighting, the agony of the wounded solders and the near total lack of medical attention In the midst of the carriage.
            He completely abandoned the original intent of his jouney and for several days devoted himself to helping with the treatment and care for the wounded. he succeeded in organizing and overwhelming relief assistance by motivating the local population to provide aid without discrimination. Back home in genava he decided to write a book entitled “ a memory of solferino” which was published in 1962. he sent copies of the book to leading political and military fginess throughout Europe. In addition to putting down a clear description of his experiences in Solferion, he sharply advocated the formation of national voluntary relief organizations to help provide nursing assistance to wounded solders in the events of war.
            In addition he called for the development of international treaties to guarantee the neutrality and protection of those wounded on the battle field as well as medies and field hospitals. In 1863, Mr Dunant formed the “ committee of the fire” in Geneva with four other leading figures form well known Geneva families. This committee created the commission of the Geneva society for public welfare. The aim of the commission was to organize an international conference about the possible implementation of Dunant ideas. The conference was attended by official delegates from Baden, Bavaria, France, Britian, Hanover, Hesse, Italy, the Nether lands, Austria, Rrussia, Russia, Saxony, Sireden and Spain.  

Among the proposals written in the final resolution of the conference adopted on October 29, 1863 were:
1.         The foundation of a national relief societies for wounded soldiers.
2.         Neutrality and protection for wounded soldiers
3.         The utilization of volunteer forces for relief assistance on the battle fields.
4.         The organization of additional conferences to enable these concepts into legally binding international agreements and treaties.
5.       The introduction of a common distinctive protection symbol for medical personnel in the field, namely a white armlet bearing a red cross.

            In 1864, the Swiss Government invited the government of all European countries including the US, Brazil and Mexico to attend an official diplomatic conference. On August 22, 1864,the first Geneva convention for the Amebioration of the condition o f the wounded in Armies in the field” was convened. Representatives of 12 states and kingdoms signed the convention which contained 10 articles, establishing for the first time, legally binding rules guaranteeing neutrality and protection for wounded soldiers, field personnel and specific humanitarian institutions in an armed conflict.

Furthermore, the convention defined two specific requirements for recognition of a national relief society by the international committee. There are
1.         The national society must be recognized by its own national government as a relief society according to convention and
2.         The national government of the respective countries must be a state party to the Geneva conventions.
            In 1881, the American red cross was formed through the efforts, of Clara Barton, and as more and more countries signed the Geneva convention and began to respect its provisions and put them in practice during armed conflict, the global influence of the Red cross continued to expand.
            In a rather short period of time, the red cross gained huge momentum as an internationally respected movement and the national societies become increasingly popular as venue for volunteer work.

The ICRC and the world war I: 
The first world war provided the first major test for the international committee of the red cross. With the outbreak of hostilities the ICRC formed itself confronted with enormous challenges which it could only handle with close co-operation with the national red cross societies. Red cross nurses and personnel from round the world came together to support the medical services of the armed forces of the Europe countries involved in the war.
            The ICRC also set up an international prisoners of war agency to cater for the welfare of rows. By the end of the war, the agency had transferred about 20 million letters and meltages, parcels and monetary donations to Pows of all affected countries, the agency also supervised the exchange of about 200,000 prisoners of war between the warning parties.
            During the war, the ICRC also monitored the compliance of the warning parties and all combatants with the Geneva conventions of 1970 and for warded complaints of violations to the respective countries. When chemical weapons were used for the first time in history the ICRC protested vigorously against this type of weapon became of the indiscriminate and whole some devastations it wreaked on the victims. The ICRC also tried to anchorate the suffering of the civilian populations in areas officially designated as occupied territories. The ICRC received a nobal prize in 1917 in recognition of its outstanding work to humanity during the World War I.
            The ICRC and the World War II the activities of the society during World War II was similar to what it did during the first war. In addition to taking care of the wounded and sick it engaged in other activities like visiting and monitoring POW camps, organizing relief assistance for the civilian population, and administrating the exchange of messages regarding prisoners and missing persons.
            During the war, the activities of the Nazi-controlled Geneva Red cross became an obstruction to the collective work of the organization. The soviet and Japanese government who were not signatories to the convention also carried out serious violations. During the war, the ICRC failed to obtain an agreement with the German government about the treatment of detainees in concentration camps. The ICRC also failed to develop a response to reliable information about the extermination camps and mass killing of European jens by the Nazi regime. This inability is still considered the greatest failure of the ICRC in its history in 1944 the ICRC received its 2nd nobel prize. This once again was the only peace prize awarded during the period of the war.
The ICRC after the 2nd world war: In 1963, the ICRC received its third nobel prize in recognition of its centenary celebration. Since 1993, non swiss citizens have been allowed to serve as committee delegates abroad, a task which was previously restricted to swiss citizens only. in October 1990, the united nations general assembly voted to grant the ICRC an observer status for its assembly sessions and sub-committee meetings. It runs the first observer status grant a private or non governmental organization in 1994, the ICRC broke its traditional media silence for the first time when it denounced the genocide taking place in Rwanda. It worked hand to prevent the tragedy in Srebrenia in 1995 but failed. In 2007, the ICRC nent public again with the denomination of major human rights abuses” by Burma’s military government including forced labour, starvations and the murder of men, women and children.

Criticisms  of the ICRC: The international committee of the red cross have been criticized the following guards
1.         It relies solely on how key and confidential negotiation this approach is seen as unnecessarily secretive which also may not always produce the best results.
2.         ICRC research finding and information are not made available to the general public unlike related organizations like DWD and Amnesty international who share information and are more willing to expose abuses and apply public pressure on recalcitrants. ICRC however argues that this approach allows it greater access to and co-operations from government on the long run.
3.         The ICRC has been accused of allowing itself to be used as tools by some governments to promote their own policies and subjective interests.
4.          Though a powerful organization with a world wide accepted presence and influence, the inability of the ICRCS to speak out especially in the face of abuses makes it structurally weak and unresponsive.
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