Switzerland supports the humanitarian efforts of the International Committee of the Red Cross to assist the victims of conflicts

Press release, 10.03.2017

On 10 March 2017 the Federal Council pledged a further annual contribution for the Geneva headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Switzerland is thereby supporting what is often the only organisation to have direct access to people in need during crises and conflicts. The work carried out by over 80 delegations worldwide is coordinated from the ICRC headquarters in Geneva.

Growing numbers of people are affected by armed conflicts and complex crises, and their dependence on humanitarian aid continues to grow. Ever larger numbers of civilians are suffering because of the spread of armed groups and the methods used in armed conflicts. Violations of international humanitarian law are becoming increasingly commonplace and humanitarian aid workers are frequently denied access to those in need. 

Because its operations are based on its policy of neutrality and discretion, the ICRC is in many contexts one of the few – if not the only – humanitarian organisations that is respected by the parties to any given conflict. At the end of 2016, for example, some 35,000 people were evacuated from the embattled Syrian city of Aleppo thanks to the efforts of the ICRC. Last year, the ICRC also provided food for 950,000 people, facilitated access to clean water for 100,000 people, and vaccinated 24,000 women and children worldwide. 

Switzerland’s contribution helps the ICRC headquarters carry out its coordination and support tasks for ICRC delegations in more than 80 countries. It also serves to strengthen the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. Switzerland supports the movement with an integral approach and advocates closer cooperation between the ICRC, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the national societies.

As depositary state of the Geneva Conventions, Switzerland has a long history of close relations with the ICRC, which is the most important partner of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) in the humanitarian field.  In addition to the headquarters contribution of CHF 80 million, Switzerland has earmarked CHF 62.5 million to fund specific ICRC humanitarian operations in 2017. In 2016, Switzerland was the fourth largest contributor to the ICRC's overall budget.

Further information:

ICRC - International Committee of the Red Cross

Address for enquiries:

FDFA Information
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The Federal Council
Federal Department of Foreign Affairs