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The Red Cross and Red Crescent Prize for Peace and Humanity

Conferred in extraordinary circumstances, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Prize for Peace and Humanity is a Movement award to recognise efforts to build a more peaceful world through humanitarian action and the dissemination of the ideals of the Movement.

The Red Cross and Red Crescent Prize for Peace and Humanity was created in 1987 by the Council of Delegates, following a proposal from the Algerian Red Crescent the preceding year. It can be awarded to both National Societies and to individual persons in the Movement, but the number of awards is limited to two each cycle, and each cycle is four years.

The Standing Commission reviews nominations and then makes a final decision. The criteria for selection are based on concrete accomplishments which are inspired by the ‘Programme of Action for the Red Cross as a Factor for Peace’, the ‘Fundamental Guidelines for the contribution of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to true peace in the world’ and which, ultimately, contribute to the respect for the motto “Per Humanitatem ad Pacem”. The number of awards handed out has been very limited- the first one being given to the Lebanese Red Cross in 1989, which was the first time it was possible to make one.

Although the term ‘peace’ is a wide concept, the Movement sees peace not just as the absence of war but as a dynamic process of co-operation among all States and peoples. It is based on the amicable settlement of disputes, respect for human rights, and the fair and equitable distribution of resources. True peace is firmly founded on respect for international law and on mutual understanding.

By their humanitarian action, the National Societies, the ICRC and the League constantly further the cause of peace. Through consistent, patient and all-encompassing effort, each component of the Movement contributes to this dynamic process of co- operation. Whereas war is most often the consequence of a long process of increased tension, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement contributes to reducing tensions and defusing the causes of conflicts. In this way it works constantly- within the limits of its competence- for true peace.

The Red Cross and Red Crescent Prize for Peace and Humanity was instituted by the Council of Delegates in Rio de Janeiro in 1987 to highlight National Societies or individuals that had gone beyond their call of duty in working for true peace.

The Council of Delegates of 1987, chaired by Dr Sommaruga, had on its agenda as its first item the “Contribution of the Movement to Peace”. Several resolutions were adopted after these meetings, including the decision to create a Peace and Humanity Prize. The final decision to begin awarding a Red Cross and Red Crescent Prize for Peace and Humanity was adopted at its session of 27 November 1987 and some of the text from those documents are included below;

“The Council of Delegates,

recalling the proposal put forward  by the Algerian Red Crescent at the 1986 Council of Delegates for the institution  of a Red Cross and Red Crescent Peace Prize, recalling that, according to the Statutes of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, the Movement “by its humanitarian work and the dissemination of its ideals, (…) promotes a lasting peace, which is not simply the absence of war, but is a dynamic process of co-operation among all States and peoples, co-operation founded on respect for free­dom, independence, national sovereignty, equality, human rights, as well as on a fair and equitable distribution of resources to meet the needs of peoples”.

Recalling that the Programme of Action of the Red Cross as a Factor of Peace (Belgrade  1975-Bucharest 1977) proposed, under its  point 28.5,  to “consider the idea of instituting a Red Cross Prize to encourage and honour the National Society making the greatest contribution to international solidarity and thereby  promoting the Red Cross image”, considering that the institution of such a Prize would constitute an important new element of implementation of this Programme of Action, stressing that the notion of the contribution of the Movement to peace is an integral part of the Fundamental Principle of Humanity. [It therefore;]

  1. decides to institute a Red Cross and Red Crescent Prize for Peace and Humanity, which would be awarded  either to National Societies or to persons having actively contributed in the Movement to a more peaceful world through their humanitarian work and the dissemination of the ideals of the  Movement,
  2. further decides that this Prize will be awarded in principle every four years during the Council of Delegates and by the Standing Commission of the Red Cross and Red Crescent,
  3. invites the Standing  Commission to establish the modalities of implementation of the present resolution and to designate the beneficiaries of the award by consensus,
  4. further invites the Standing Commission to award this Prize for the first time on the occasion of the Council of Delegates of 1989, the year of the 125th anniversary of the Movement.”

Following these resolutions, the Standing Commission adopted the Regulations for the Red Cross and Red Crescent Prize for Peace and Humanity at a meeting held in Geneva 17 and 18 October 1988. These regulations are as follows;

REGULATIONS FOR THE RED CROSS
AND RED CRESCENT
PRIZE FOR PEACE AND HUMANITY

Prize instituted by the Council of Delegates (Rio de Janeiro, 1987)

 

  1. The Red Cross and Red Crescent prize for peace and Humanity shall be awarded by the Standing Commission, either to National Societies or to persons in the Movement, having actively contributed to a more peaceful world through their humanitarian work and the dissemination of the ideals of the Movement.
  2. Every four years, during the Council of Delegates, a maximum of two prizes may be awarded to National Societies, to persons, or to a National Society and a person. The Prize may also be awarded posthumously to persons who have died recently.
  3. The Standing Commission shall designate the beneficiaries of the award by consensus.
  4. The criteria for selection are based on concrete accomplishments which are inspired by the Programme of Action for the Red Cross as a Factor for Peace and by the Fundamental Guidelines for the contribution of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to true peace in the world and which contribute to respect for the motto Per Humanitatem ad Pacem.
  5. Nominations submitted by the National Societies or one of the members of the Standing Commission shall be addressed to the Secretariat of the Standing Commission at least 8 months before the Session of the Council of Delegates to give the Commission time to examine the nominations. Full details should be given and supporting documents should be enclosed.
  6. The prize shall consist of a work of art symbolizing the action of the Movement for peace, with the inscription of the motto Per Humanitatem ad Pacem accompanied by a diploma recalling the motives of the Award.
  7. The Chairman of the Standing Commission shall present the Prize at the Council of Delegates. If the recipient or a member of his/her family cannot attend for reasons beyond his/her control, the prize will be handed to a representative of his/her National Society for presentation to the beneficiary on behalf of the Chairman of the Standing Commission of the Red Cross and Red Crescent. If the Prize is awarded to a National Society it shall be presented to the President of that Society or, in his/her absence, to his/her representative.

I dream of a Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement that has global moral authority and can call the attention of the world to humanitarian issues of concern, a Movement, which independently chooses which issues to focus on.

Henry Dunant