The 32nd International Conference marked the 50th anniversary of the proclamation of the Fundamental Principles of the Movement: Humanity, Impartiality, Neutrality, Independence, Voluntary Service, Unity and Universality.

These seven principles define the identity and distinctiveness of the Movement and help safeguard our capacity to perform our humanitarian mission. The application of the Fundamental Principles in our daily work is instrumental to our privileged access to people in need – they allow us to reach those that others cannot, and the principles are fundamentally lifesaving.

The Fundamental Principles in Action served both as an overarching theme for the Conference and were addressed substantively in the opening panel, commission, workshops, interactive exhibitions and personal testimonies examining:

  • States’ commitments to ensuring that the Movement is able to work at all times in accordance with the  Fundamental Principles in order to increase its acceptance, security and access to people in need, through the lens of operational dilemmas and good practices (such as the safety of personnel or the distinctive relationship of States with National Societies);
  • the universality of Red Cross Red Crescent Fundamental Principles, as anchored in and embodied by locally relevant and meaningful values for volunteers and affected people; and
  • the Movement’s leadership in principled humanitarian action and our distinctive identity through the practical application of these principles, which serves to anchor our local action in global solidarity.

The work of the plenary commission will build on the findings of the Movement-wide initiative on “Re-affirming the Fundamental Principles”, carried out jointly by the ICRC and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies between 2013 and 2015, which are summarized in the background report entitled “The Fundamental Principles in action: A unique ethical, operational and institutional framework”.

As part of this initiative a series of regional workshops were organized between March 2014 and July 2015 bringing together a total of 127 National Societies. The reports of these workshops can be found below:

  • Regional Workshop of Beyrouth, Lebanon – March 2014:  English
  • Regional Workshop of Nairobi, Kenya – March 2015: English
  • Regional Workshop of Dakar, Senegal – March 2015: French and English
  • Regional Workshop of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – April 2015: will be available at a later stage
  • Regional Workshop of Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, and Budapest, Hungary – May-June 2015: English
  • Regional Workshop of Bogota, Colombia – July 2015: will be available at a later stage

More information

Our principles in action