Seven fundamental principles embody the work of all Red Cross and Red Crescent staff and volunteers worldwide. Adopted in 1965, these principles define the scope of the Red Cross' humanitarian work and provide a basis for promoting the ideals and humanitarian values of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
1. Humanity - people caring for people
2. Impartiality - aid doesn't differentiate
3. Neutrality - humanitarian initiatives need trust
4. Independence - our principles are maintained through self-determination
5. Voluntary Service - true aid must be free of self interest
6. Unity - only one in any given country, open to all
7. Universality - humanitarian values are global
The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, born of a desire to bring assistance without discrimination to the wounded on the battlefield, endeavours, in its international and national capacity, to prevent and alleviate human suffering wherever it may be found. Its purpose is to protect life and health and to ensure respect for the human being. It promotes mutual understanding, friendship, cooperation and lasting peace amongst all peoples.
It makes no discrimination as to nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions. It endeavours to relieve the suffering of individuals, to being guided solely by their needs, and to give priority to the most urgent cases of distress.
In order to continue to enjoy the confidence of all, the Movement may not take sides in hostilities or engage at any time in controversies of a political, racial, religious or ideological nature.
The Movement is independent. The National Societies, while auxiliaries in the humanitarian services of their governments and subject to the laws of their respective countries, must always maintain their autonomy so that they may be able at all times to act in accordance with the principles of the Movement.
5. Voluntary Service:
It is a voluntary relief movement not prompted in any manner by desire for gain.
There can be only one Red Cross or one Red Crescent Society in any one country. It must be open to all. It must carry on its humanitarian work throughout its territory.
The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, in which all Societies have equal status and share equal responsibilities and duties in helping each other, is worldwide.
The Austrian Red Cross:
In addition to the seven fundamental principles, the Austrian Red Cross is guided by the following additional principles:
- Voluntary and non-remunerated help is encouraged and accepted whenever it meets the requirements of the situation
- All services are performed with regard to personal and local needs and situations
- The organisation strives to provide efficient, decentralised humanitarian services
- Cooperation with other organisations, when in accordance with Red Cross principles, is supported
- Activities are concentrated in those areas where technical knowledge and expertise exist
- New demands are met as quickly as possible with innovative and effective solutions
- Services and products are continually reviewed and adapted to changing requirements and conditions