The Red Cross (or in Islamic countries, the "Red Crescent") is an internationally recognized humanitarian organization based in Geneva, Switzerland. It was founded in 1863 and now has roughly 97 million volunteers and staff around the world. It has national organizations in most of the world's countries. It is universally recognized for its impartiality and neutrality, allowing it to operate in areas closed to other organizations.
Among its chief activities are:
- Monitoring treatment of prisoners of war and refugees and to organize the delivery of relief supplies
- To organize medical care and nursing in battlefield areas
- To attempt to locate missing persons in war zones, both military and civilian
- To organize protection and care for civilian populations in war zones
- To mediate between parties to an armed conflict
Since its inception, it has been awarded the Nobel Prize for peace on three occasions, most recently in 1963.