The 7 Red Cross and Red Crescent Principles are: humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality.

See Humanity;


This principle is based on respect for the human being, is inseparable from the idea of peace, and sums up the Movement’s ideal. The other Fundamental Principles therefore derive from it.

Humanity means being sensible of and sharing the suffering of others, and preventing and alleviating it. Its purpose is to protect life against violence. It is the first step towards preventing and eliminating war, and an essential factor of true peace, which is attainable neither by domination nor by military superiority.


A positive principle of relief without discrimination that affirms that human beings in distress are equal. It is therefore the contrary of the feelings of superiority and the discriminatory action that are the cause of many conflicts. In international humanitarian law, impartiality means the conduct to be followed by a neutral State towards the belligerents in an armed conflict.

Impartiality must also be the hallmark of action by the ICRC or the Protecting Powers.


In order to retain the trust of all, the Movement refrains from taking part in hostilities and refrains at all times from taking part in controversies of a political, racial, religious or philosophical nature.

The Movement regards neutrality as a means, not an end. Neutrality does not imply either indifference to suffering or acceptance of war, but is the indispensable condition of effective humanitarian action by the Red Cross.