Italian Red Cross
Logo of the Italian Red Cross
The Italian Red Cross (IRC, Italian: Croce Rossa Italiana or CRI) is the Italian national Red Cross society. The Italian Red Cross was one of the original founding members of the International Committee of the Red Cross in 1919.
Stamp commemorating the role of the Italian Red Cross in providing medical care during the Korean War
(the Korean designer of the stamp used the Kingdom of Italy flag, while Italy had been a republic, with a different flag, since 1946) 1950-1953
The present-day Italian Red Cross was founded under the name of Comitato dell'Associazione Italiana per il soccorso ai feriti ed ai malati in guerra in Milan on June 15, 1864, two months before the signing of the Geneva Convention.
On June 20, 1864, the Third Italian War of Independence broke out and four groups of IRC volunteers were sent to Custoza. In 1872, the headquarters were moved to Rome, and a Central Committee was formed. Since then, the IRC has expanded its operations throughout the entire territory of the country, and has been deployed to face a growing array of activities and emergencies, starting with the Casamicciola earthquake of 1883.
The American Red Cross has long been active in Italy, working in cooperation with the Italian Red Cross. Ernest Hemingway worked for the American Red Cross in Italy in 1918. The American Red Cross continues to have an office in Naples, Italy.
Red Cross Hospital 68 and the Korean War
During the Korean War, the Italian Red Cross Field Hospital 68 (Ospedale da campo CRI n. 68) was despatched to Korea to aid the humanitarian disaster there, even though Italy was not a member of the United Nations at the time. The Hospital arrived in Korea in November 1951 and provided medical services to wounded civilians and soldiers of all sides. It finally left Korea in January 1955.
Presently, the Italian Red Cross has the status of a sovranational charitable organization, under the high patronage of the President of the Italian Republic. The Italian Red Cross is currently a member of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Doctor Massimo Barra was elected President of the Italian Red Cross on December 11, 2005 and served until October 30, 2008, when the Italian Government appointed Extraordinary Commissioner Francesco Rocca. On January 27, 2013 Francesco Rocca was elected President of the IRC during the National Assembly of the organisation.
Italian Red Cross vehicles bear special license plates.
7 Fundamental Principles
The 7 Fundamental Principles are the foundation of the Italian Red Cross and International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies:
- Humanity: «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.»
- Impartiality: «It makes no discrimination as to nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions. It endeavours to relieve the suffering of individuals, being guided solely by their needs, and to give priority to the most urgent cases of distress.»
- Neutrality: «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.»
- Independence: «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.»
- Voluntary service: «It is a voluntary relief movement not prompted in any manner by desire for gain.»
- Unity: «There can be only one Red Cross or one Red Crescent Society in anyone country. It must be open to all. It must carry on its humanitarian work throughout its territory.»
- Universality: «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.»
An Italian Red Cross ambulance.
The Italian Red Cross is currently conducting the 2020 Strategy promoted by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. The main aim of this project is to reach, during this decade, 6 objectives based on the analysis of the needs and vulnerabilities of the community. The 6 strategic objectives are the following:
- Safeguard and protect health and life;
- Encourage support and social inclusion;
- Prepare the community and respond to emergencies and disasters;
- Spread the International Humanitarian Law (IHL), the Fundamental Principles and the Humanitarian Values. Cooperate with the other members of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement;
- Promote youths development and a culture of active citizenship;
- Operate with a capillary, efficient and conspicuous structure, treasuring the activity of volunteers.
Since the 2012 reform, the Italian Red Cross is made up of three components:
- Corpo Militare (Ausiliario delle Forze Armate) - Military Corps (Auxiliary of the Armed Forces)
- Corpo delle Infermiere Volontarie (Ausiliarie delle Forze Armate) - Voluntary nurses (Auxiliary of the Armed Forces)
- Volontari della Croce Rossa Italiana (Componente Civile) - Volunteers of the Italian Red Cross (Civilians)
Official Italian Red Cross website (in Italian)