The International Federation of the Red Crescent and the Red Cross Societies (IFRC) were originally formed in 1919 and now have around 186 national societies worldwide. The IFRC is overseen by the International Federation of the Red Cross (ICRC) which has authority under international humanitarian law to protect the life and dignity of the victims of international and internal armed conflicts.
Most of us would recognise the Red Cross symbol as the international humanitarian organisation, but the Red Crescent became a symbol used by the Ottoman Empire during the Turkish-Prussian war from 1876 to 1878 as it did not want to offend its Muslim soldiers. It became an officially recognised symbol in 1929 and now 33 of the 186 national societies use this symbol due to their mainly Muslim populations. [Read more...]