The ICRC reference documents are adopted by ICRC governing bodies (Assembly and Presidency), the ICRC Directorate, Departments and delegations and govern the way the ICRC operates. Following the adoption by the ICRC Directorate in April 2019 of the Access to Information Policy, these documents are public, except in duly justified cases.
The ICRC library’s collections include the public ICRC reference documents.
There are other normative texts that bind the ICRC and/or have an impact on the way it operates, such as international humanitarian law (IHL), human rights law, resolutions adopted by the International Conference of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent or the Council of Delegates, and the Statutes of the Movement. See the Handbook of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement for a compilation of the principles and rules that have directed the activities of the Movement since its foundation.
ICRC Statutes and Internal Regulations
The ICRC Statutes define the organization and work of the institution; the ICRC Internal Regulations ensure the implementation of the Statutes and regulate the activities of the governing bodies of the institution:
ICRC Mission Statement
The ICRC defines its mission in the following terms:
“The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is an impartial, neutral and independent organization whose exclusively humanitarian mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence and to provide them with assistance.
The ICRC also endeavours to prevent suffering by promoting and strengthening humanitarian law and universal humanitarian principles.
Established in 1863, the ICRC is at the origin of the Geneva Conventions and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. It directs and coordinates the international activities conducted by the Movement in armed conflicts and other situations of violence.”
(latest update by the Committee, 19 June 2008)
See The ICRC : its mission and work / ICRC. – Geneva : ICRC, March 2009. – p. 4.
ICRC Policy Documents
The ICRC doctrine is the body of documents adopted by the Assembly with a view to providing long-term inspiration and guidance for the organization’s action and thinking. It takes into account the external environment and is based on: the practice, history and Statutes of the ICRC; the Fundamental Principles and the Statutes and resolutions of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement; international humanitarian law. The main purpose of developing and codifying doctrine is to ensure that the action of the ICRC and its representatives is both consistent over time and more predictable and credible.
ICRC Institutional Strategy
The ICRC institutional strategy provides a compass for future action:
ICRC Thematic Strategies and Guiding Frameworks
Following the adoption by the ICRC Directorate in April 2019 of the Access to Information Policy, several internal ICRC business and thematic strategies and guiding frameworks approved since by the ICRC Directorate or the Assembly were made public, such as:
ICRC Position Papers
The ICRC position papers present the ICRC’s view on a given issue: