Our principles in action

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement's Fundamental Principles. These principles unite the Movement in 189 countries and are the basis of our decisions and actions.


Seven Tales for Seven Principles

‘Seven Tales for Seven Principles’ was an event hosted by the Italian ambassador in Vienna to thank the Red Cross and Red Crescent for its continued work to help those in need and celebrate together the continued relevance of the Movement Fundamental Principles. Organized jointly by ICRC, International Federation and Austrian Red Cross, the event took place on Wednesday night in Vienna, in the context of the celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the Fundamental Principles. Seven speakers, seven stories, seven powerful testimonies of how our Principles, when put into action, can make the difference and provide the basis for humanitarian action which ultimately save lives.


Ambassador Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal

Representing the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Interior the Ambassador offered the perspectives of the governments and how they work with the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in times of crisis – and how the principles have an impact on all action. View

Abdullahi Ahmed

Abdullahi Ahmed fled from Somalia to Europe in 2008, and arrived on the shores of Italy at Lampedusa. His arduous journey included travelling through the desert and a perilous crossing of the Mediterranean Sea. The support he received from the Italian Red Cross later inspired him to join the National Society where he now helps others seeking a safer life. Abdullahi has been touched by the principles and during the event he offered a moving testimony of the impact they had on his life. View

Professor Fausto Pocar

Professor Fausto Pocar was a member, and President of the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations from 1984 to 2000 and served in the Italian delegation to the UN General Assembly and to the Commission on Human Rights. In 1999, he was appointed as a judge to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, and was President of this tribunal from 2005 to 2008. Prof. Pocar explained how the principles cross over to different fields and they do not only provide a fundamental basis for humanitarian action, but also provide inspiration for lawyers and judges when addressing relevant cases. View

Elena Ajmone Sessera

Elena Ajmone Sessera has been working with the ICRC for fifteen years, serving as a delegate in Colombia, Rwanda, Myanmar, Haiti, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. Since 2011, Elena has been based at headquarters, covering the delegations of Brazil and Colombia and coordinating support to the field. During her testimony Elena told about her experience in Colombia, where the principles have helped her gain the trust of a woman whose son was missing. Through this experience she has seen the principles in action and seen the difference they can make when working with the most vulnerable. View

Lieutenant Colonel Tremblay

Following a career as refugee lawyer, Lieutenant Colonel Tremblay enrolled in the Canadian Forces in 2001, advising on operational and international law matters in various positions. She was deployed twice to Afghanistan, as primary Legal Advisor to the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team in 2006-2007 and as the primary legal advisor to the Canadian Armed Forces Special Forces in 2009-2010. Through her experience in Afghanistan she could see how the principles are what allowed the ICRC to act as a mediator between the Government of Afghanistan and the Taliban to ensure that aid made it into the hands of the civilians who needed it. View

Our shared commitment to serve the most vulnerable people everywhere, now and in the future.