- Red Cross
1. an international philanthropic organization (Red Cross Society), formed in consequence of the Geneva Convention of 1864, to care for the sick and wounded in war, secure neutrality of nurses, hospitals, etc., and help relieve suffering caused by pestilence, floods, fires, and other calamities.2. a branch of this organization: the American Red Cross.3. the English national emblem of St. George's cross.4. See Geneva cross.Also, red cross (for defs. 3, 4).
* * *officially International Movement of the Red Cross and Red Crescent formerly International Red CrossHumanitarian agency with national affiliates worldwide.Established for the care of victims of battle, it now aids in the general prevention and relief of human suffering. It arose out of the work of Jean-Henri Dunant, who proposed the formation of voluntary relief societies in all countries, the first of which came into being in 1864. The name Red Crescent, adopted in 1906 at the insistence of the Ottoman Empire, is used in Muslim countries. In peacetime, the Red Cross aids victims of natural disasters, maintains blood banks, and provides supplementary health care services. In wartime, it serves as an intermediary between belligerents and visits prisoner-of-war camps to provide relief supplies, deliver mail, and transmit information between prisoners and their relatives. Its operating principles are humanity, impartiality, and neutrality. Its headquarters are in Geneva. Individual national organizations run community programs and coordinate natural-disaster relief efforts. The American Red Cross was founded by Clara Barton in 1881 and first chartered by Congress in 1900; it runs the world's largest blood-donor service. In 1901 Dunant received the first Nobel Prize for Peace; the Red Cross itself received the prize in 1917, 1944, and 1963.
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