A Guide for Parliamentarians to the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement

This guide aims to familiarise parliamentarians with the Movement, particularly the role of the 187 Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies1 (National Societies) throughout the world. A strong and active National Society can do much to assist public authorities at all levels of government in the humanitarian field.

There are a number of characteristics that distinguish a National Society from non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the United Nations (UN) and other elements of civil society. This guide is designed to provide information and understanding with a view to building on the existing strong and valuable relationships between parliamentarians and the National Society. Areas examined include:

• What is the Movement?
• What does ‘auxiliary role’ mean?
• Examples of services that National Societies provide.
• What do I need to know about international humanitarian law (IHL), international disaster response law (IDRL) and other areas of disaster law?
• Why are the red cross, red crescent and red crystal emblems important?
• What is humanitarian diplomacy?
• What can you do as a parliamentarian to strengthen and support your National Society?