Now imagine that there’s been a catastrophic flood and you’re in charge of organizing teams to deliver food to survivors. Politicians and the media are pressuring your organization to get results, and fast. They are also making claims about who should receive aid first. How do you decide who to help first? What do you base your decision on? These difficult situations are commonplace for Red Cross and Red Crescent staff and volunteers around the world. Fortunately, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement has developed solid tools to help.
The seven Fundamental Principles – humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality – are the most important of these tools. They serve both as an inspiration – an ideal to strive for – and as practical steps to take to achieve that ideal in times of peace, armed conflict or natural disaster. They call on us to help those most in need first, regardless of their political affiliation, race or religion, and they make this possible by providing guidance on gaining the trust of people in all these circumstances.