The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is a private, independent, Swiss humanitarian institution. It is a neutral intermediary in armed conflict situations.
In accordance with the rules of international humanitarian law, the driving force behind the Red Cross, the ICRC provides protection and aid for the victims, prisoners of war, civilians, sick and wounded, displaced persons, people living in areas occupied my a foreign power. Independence from all governments enables the ICRC to make any decisions with regard solely to humanitarian considerations. As a result of being held high in regard worldwide, the ICRC is likewise able to offer them their services in the event of civil unrest or tensions, that are not covered by the Geneva Convention of 1949 or the by the additional 1977 protocol. Through these situations the ICRC has gained a great deal of experience in visiting political prisoners.
The ICRC promotes international humanitarian law and makes efforts towards the advancement of such. It secures and furthers these laws and humanitarian principles through government contacts and also with the military and other target groups.
Included in the target groups that the ICRC reaches out to, amongst others, are schools and universities.
The members of the governing body of the ICRC are Swiss. The committee is the heart of the ICRC and has a maximum of 25 members. Through these members the ICRC elects its President. The committee comes together eight times a year to form an assembly. In this assembly the general policy and guidelines to be affected by the ICRC are agreed.