This Wednesday is a special day of commemoration for the American Red Cross. Sixty years ago, on August 12, 2019, the four Geneva Conventions in their current form came into being. Now adopted by every nation, the Geneva Conventions place limits on how war is waged – protecting civilians, wounded and sick combatants and prisoners of war. They are the cornerstone of international humanitarian law and are forever linked to the Red Cross.
In fact, our Congressional Charter specifies that the American Red Cross is a “Federally chartered instrumentality of the United States,” and charges us with carrying out the “purposes of the Geneva Conventions” dating back to the original in 1864. As the women and men of the ARC, our duty on behalf of the people and the government of the US is to help ensure that these humanitarian principles are widely understood and respected.
This is the reason we came into existence, and it is our oldest and most cherished mission. Over 150 years ago, the Red Cross and the Geneva Conventions were born when Henry Dunant witnessed the devastating consequences of war at a battlefield in Italy. In the aftermath of that battle, Dunant argued successfully for the creation of a civilian relief corps to respond to human suffering during conflict, and for rules to set limits on how war is waged.
Join us as we celebrate an important milestone for international humanitarian law, and sign our online petition that calls upon school district officials to teach these principles in high school classrooms.
Finally, please take a moment this week to remember those still in need of humanitarian protections in today’s conflicts as well as honor the dedicated men and women of the Red Cross who have gone before us, and who continue to go wherever they are needed.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.