17 September 1992

Doc. 6670



on the activities of the International Committee

of the Red Cross (ICRC) (1989-1991)

(Rapporteur: Mr FLÜCKIGER, Switzerland, Rad. Dem.)


      In recent years, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), mandated by the international community to provide protection and assistance to all civilian and military victims of armed conflicts, has been called on to intervene in an increasing number of intense international conflicts and internal crises marked by the violence characteristic of civil war. On several occasions the ICRC has deplored flagrant breaches in the security of its delegates, installations and means of transport. Moreover, the ideological nature of some conflicts has raised hitherto unknown problems for humanitarian assistance.


      There is every reason to expect the Council of Europe member states to help ensure observance in all circumstances of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols of 1977 as well as of the international humanitarian law applicable to armed conflicts. Likewise, it is surely inconceivable that the member states will not take up the ICRC's offers of services for the assistance of persons detained for security reasons. Therefore, those member states which are not yet parties to the Additional Protocols of 1977 should ratify or accede to them. Similarly, the Council of Europe should support the work of the ICRC in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, notably with regard to the dissemination of humanitarian law. In view of the Council of Europe's mission, and considering the needs of the ICRC, the financial contributions of the member States should be appropriate.


1.       The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) derives its mandate from the 1949 Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols of 1977.

2.       The latter recognise the role of the ICRC as a neutral intermediary between parties to armed conflicts and its right to provide protection and assistance to all civilian and military victims of armed conflicts and to visit prisoners held for reasons connected with armed conflicts with the consent of the states concerned.

3.       The fundamental principles guiding the ICRC actions are humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality.

4.       The horrific sights of the battle field at Solferino that led to the creation of the ICRC have unfortunately been repeated during innumerable crises since. Scenes of the wounded lying unattended have been witnessed again during the war in the former Yugoslavia.

5.       In recent years the ICRC has been called on to intervene in an increasing number of conflicts. Moreover, these conflicts have been more intensive and cruel in nature than before and often were non-international in that they arose from internal disturbances.

6.       On several occasions there have been breaches in the security of delegates of the ICRC, its installations and means of transport. Also, the belligerents have refused to allow the ICRC to bring relief to the affected civilian populations.

7.       The ideological character of the conflicts has raised new problems for humanitarian action.

8.       Insufficient knowledge of international humanitarian law in certain Central and East European countries where conflicts have broken out poses problems to the ICRC in the carrying out of its tasks.

9.       The Assembly deplores the various obstacles which have been placed in the way of the effective pursuit of the work and objectives of the ICRC in recent months.

10.       The Assembly invites the governments of Council of Europe member states and of those seeking membership as well as those of the states whose parliaments enjoy observer status or who have or are seeking special guest status with the Parliamentary Assembly:

i.       to ensure that the 1949 Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols of 1977 as well as the humanitarian laws applicable to armed conflicts are respected in all circumstances;

ii.       to give or increase their political support to the ICRC and annual contributions to its budget;

iii.       to make urgent and substantial contributions to enable the ICRC to carry out emergency humanitarian action in the field;

iv.       to help increase public understanding and awareness in all countries of the obligations arising from humanitarian law;

v.       to promote knowledge of the ICRC and its activites in their countries;

vi.       to encourage public support for the ICRC and the national Red Cross Societies;

vii.       to ratify, without delay, if they have not yet done so, the Additional Protocols of 1977 to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, or to accede to them.


by Mr Flückiger


1.       The events and reasoning leading to the birth of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) describe well the nature of that institution even today. The need for protection during armed conflicts was first called for by Mr Henry Dunant, a Geneva businessman, who after having seen the horrific sights of the Battle of Solferino described the anguish he had felt in seeing thousands of wounded soldiers lying unattended.

2.       In 1864, Mr Dunant's agony encouraged the Swiss Government to convene an international conference on the protection of the wounded in armed conflicts. At the prompting of the ICRC, this conference adopted the first Geneva Convention.

3.       This convention gave birth to international humanitarian law. It was originally confined to the protection of the wounded on the battlefield, but such protection was later extended to other victims. The four Geneva conventions deal with the amelioration of the condition of the wounded and sick in armed forces; wounded, sick and shipwrecked members of armed forces at sea; treatment of prisoners of war; and protection of civilian persons in time of war. These conventions set down certain rules of conduct, specifically with regard to the treatment of civilians, prisoners of war and the sick and wounded. Since the beginning, the international humanitarian law has had to adapt to new developments.

4.       In 1977 two Protocols were added to the Geneva Conventions. They extended the protection given to civilians in both international and national armed conflicts. They also developed rules limiting the methods and means of combat.

5.       In the near future Annex I to Additional Protocol I will introduce adjustments taking into account difficulties of visual identification of the Red Cross and Red Crescent emblem and its protection.

6.       The fundamental principles guiding the ICRC actions are humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality.

7.       The ICRC derives its mandate from the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols. They recognise the ICRC's role as a neutral intermediary between parties to armed conflicts and its right to visit prisoners-of-war camps and protected civilians in enemy or occupied territory. The ICRC can perform any other action for the benefit of victims of armed conflicts with the consent of states concerned.The Statutes of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement give it other tasks in situations not covered by the Geneva Conventions. Moreover, the ICRC can take any humanitarian initiative which comes within its role as a specially neutral and independent institution and intermediary.

8.       The ICRC comprises 91 delegations including sub- and regional delegations throughout the world, supported by a headquarters staff in Geneva. The committee, the ICRC's governing body, determines general policies and principles which guide the ICRC's activities. As committee members are elected by previous members, they are under no obligation to anyone. That allows the ICRC to uphold a policy of independence, neutrality and impartiality.

9.       The Executive Council is made up of four committee members and the three directors of the ICRC in charge of administrative, legal and operational matters. Every four years the committee elects one member as president of the ICRC, who chairs the committee's Assembly and Executive Council. On 12 December 1991, Mr Cornelio Sommaruga was re-elected for his second term in office.

10.       Whereas the three directors and the heads of the various departments within the ICRC are responsible for the executing of institutional tasks, delegates in the field are in charge of carrying out the operational activities. National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies also provide field personnel for emergency medical and relief missions.

11.       The ICRC, together with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the recognised National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, is one of the components of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. Where the ICRC operates in areas of armed conflicts or internal troubles, the Federation co-ordinates the action of the national societies in times of natural disaster.

The Parliamentary Assembly's work with regard to the ICRC

12.       In 1984, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted its first Resolution 823 on the activities of the ICRC. It sought to stimulate the interest of member states in the ICRC's activities. Since then two reports have been presented to the Standing Committee in 1987 (Resolution 881) and in 1989 (Resolution 921).

13.       The previous reports brought out, inter alia, the increasing number of conflicts in which the ICRC had been called on to intervene and consequently the need for increased financial contributions.

14.        A representative of the ICRC assists regularly the meetings of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Demography as an observer and keeps members informed about the ICRC's activities. The committee has benefited from very valuable information supplied by the ICRC in the preparation of several of its reports.

15.       Although the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Demography is mainly responsible within the Parliamentary Assembly for following the work of the ICRC, this time the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights will also contribute to the Assembly's debate on the activities of the ICRC by presenting an opinion.

16.       In February 1992, Mr Sommaruga, President of the ICRC, participated in a meeting of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Demography. On that occasion, committee members held an interesting exchange of views with the President and acknowledged the complementary nature of the tasks of the committee and the ICRC as well as the importance of maintaining good co-operation.


17.       Article 1 common to the Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocol I imposes an obligation upon all High Contracting Parties to both respect and ensure respect for these instruments in all circumstances. Fulfilment of this legal obligation therefore represents one of the most important means for promoting a more effective universal implementation of international humanitarian law. Towards this end, states ought not only to adopt all necessary national measures designed to implement international humanitarian law, but also to take action, be it individually or collectively (at the regional and international levels) with regard to every other High Contracting Party which were not to respect this law.

18.       International humanitarian law contains a notable provision of considerable importance for the ICRC, recognising its right "to take any humanitarian initiative which comes within its role as a specifically neutral and independent institution and intermediary and to consider any question requiring examination by such institution". In this context, the ICRC took the initiative in visiting the security detainees, in planning developments in international humanitarian law, in adopting and making known its policies on such general humanitarian problems as peace, disarmament, torture, and so forth, and in offering its good offices in international crises, particularly in conflicts.

19.       Without being asked to open inquiry, the ICRC may be called upon to record the result of violations of international humanitarian law. In principle, the ICRC is no judge above the parties involved; nor can it engage in controversies that would only jeopardise its activities for the victims. The ICRC will therefore only comply with such requests if the presence of its delegates can facilitate its humanitarian tasks and if it has been assured that their presence will not be used to political ends.

20.       The ICRC shall take all appropriate steps to put an end to violations of international humanitarian law or to prevent the occurrence of such violations. These steps may be taken at various levels according to the gravity of the breaches involved. However, they are subject to two main conditions: confidential character of steps taken and public statements. The ICRC reserves the right to make public statements concerning the violations of international humanitarian law if the following conditions are fulfilled: the violations are major and repeated; the steps taken confidentially have not succeeded in putting an end to the violations; such publicity is in the interest of the persons or populations affected or threatened; or the ICRC delegates have witnessed the violations with their own eyes, or the existence and extent of those breaches where established by reliable and verifiable sources.

21.       Contributions of the Council of Europe member states to the ICRC's 1990 and 1991 budgets figure in Appendix I. Largest increases in contributions have come from the United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Luxembourg and Spain. Contributions of Bulgaria, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Poland and Turkey declined from 1990 to 1991.

22.       A table indicating the Council of Europe members states' accession to and ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocols appears in Appendix II. Cyprus, France, Greece, Ireland, the United Kingdom and Turkey have not yet ratified them or have ratified only one of them. Since the last report in 1989, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, San Marino and Spain have ratified the two Additional Protocols.


23.       The radical political changes which have taken place in Central and Eastern Europe have had important repercussions on countries beyond Europe. They precipitated several regional conflicts. Many of these conflicts have been ideological and ethnical in nature. On several occasions, humanitarian law has been violated. Consequently, the number of conflicts in which the ICRC has been called on to intervene has increased. These conflicts have also lasted longer. The following paragraphs give a brief description of the various ICRC activities related to these developments as well as those resulting from earlier conflicts in various parts of the world. However, the following by no means intends to give a thorough explanation of the ICRC activities, but a mere indication of the nature of its recent activities.

Middle East and North Africa

24.       The ICRC has ad hoc delegations in Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel and the territories occupied by Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. Regional delegations exist in Kuwait City and Tunisia. These offices employ a personnel of 152 expatriate and 469 local employees.

25.       In the aftermath of the Iran-Iraq conflict, the ICRC has been involved in the repatriation of prisoners of war; in 1990, 78 821 prisoners of war were repatriated. The ICRC estimated that some 20 000 Iraqi prisoners of war still remain in Iran and one thousand in Iraq. It has also worked toward the settlement abroad of Iranian internees in Iraq, before the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) set up its own office.

26.       In 1990-91, following the invasion of Kuwait, the ICRC addressed a memorandum to all states party to the Geneva Conventions and a message to all the governments of the coalition countries and to the Government of Iraq, reminding all the parties of their commitments under the 1949 Geneva Conventions. When the hostilities broke out, the ICRC made a public appeal urging all the parties not to use atomic weapons.

27.       In accordance with the mandate entrusted to the organisation by the international community, the ICRC requested authorisation to intervene in Iraq and Kuwait to provide protection and assistance to all those in need. The ICRC succeeded, in co-operation with the Jordanian Red Cross and the League of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, to assist tens of thousands of foreign workers and their families leaving Iraq and Kuwait through Jordan. A transit reception point was set up to supply basic needs; later on, as the number of displaced persons increased, two transit camps were set up. Furthermore, the ICRC distributed relief materials and medical supplies to the victims of the war and handled over 41 000 messages.

28.       The Gulf war has had enormous humanitarian consequences. Some 4 000 000 people were displaced by the conflict. Still today the number of people being displaced, missing, imprisoned, hungry or homeless is very large. During the fighting, when all other international organisations had left for obvious security reasons, the ICRC remained. Eight ICRC delegates in Baghdad maintained contacts among the officials and National Societies of all Middle East countries and negotiated with all parties in the conflict. Moreover, they kept the Geneva headquarters informed of the most compelling needs in the hospitals and among the civilian population as a whole. It assisted in the repatriation of 80 000 prisoners of war and civilians and handed over 41 000 messages.

29.       Once the hostilities ended the ICRC participated in repatriating Kuwaiti prisoners of war and civilian internees, coalition prisoners and Iraqi prisoners of war and civilians. As the threat of raging epidemics rose after the water and sewage systems in the major cities of southern Iraq and Baghdad were destroyed, the ICRC's sanitation teams launched a large-scale operation and technical programme to restore drinking water supply.

30.       The ICRC assisted people in Iraqi Kurdistan, bringing them energy food supplies. Also, in Iran, where over a million Kurds and Iraqi Shiites had taken refuge, the ICRC provided support for the Iranian Red Crescent in distributing relief supplies, tents and blankets. In October 1991, the ICRC installed a hospital in the north-east of Iraq where large numbers of Kurds had reinstalled themselves once the Gulf war was over.

31.       The Turkish authorities have declined to follow up the ICRC's offer to send a delegation to the areas bordering on Iraq where several hundred thousands of Kurds fleeing the combat zones had gathered.

32.       The ICRC has been present in Lebanon since 1975, working to reduce the suffering of the vulnerable civilian population and ensuring the protection of security detainees. It has been able to do so with the assistance of the Lebanese Red Cross. In 1989 and 1990, when widespread fighting displaced many families, the ICRC pursued its protection, tracing, medical and relief activities on behalf of the civilian population. It also provided these persons with food parcels, blankets, etc. Thereafter, it has pursued regular visits to security detainees.

33.       Since 1967 the ICRC has provided assistance to civilians in the territories occupied by Israel in accordance with its mandate under the Geneva Convention. It is also concerned about the intra-Palestinian killings of alleged collaborators.

34.       The number of detained in the region has increased greatly. Where in 1987 the ICRC visited 4 000 detainees, in 1990 the number had increased to 16 0001. The ICRC has tried to keep track of arrests, transfers and releases in over 40 places of detention. It has tried to obtain access to detainees, provide them with materials for educational and leisure activities. In May 1992, the ICRC strongly urged the Israeli Government to prevent the ill-treatment of Palestinians prisoners during interrogation.

35.       The ICRC's medical personnel has regularly monitored the medical facilities in the occupied territories in order to ensure that wounded and sick people are taken care of. Temporary shelter has been given to families whose homes had been sealed off or destroyed by Israeli authorities.

36.       The Israeli authorities contest the applicability of the Fourth Geneva convention de jure while being willing to apply some of its provisions de facto in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, but not in the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem. According to the ICRC the provisions of the convention are applicaple to all the occupied territories.


37.       The ICRC has ad hoc delegations in Angola, Burundi, Ethiopia, Liberia, Mozambique, Namibia, Republic of South Africa, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda and regional delegations in Dakar, Harare, Kinshasa, Lagos, Lome, Nairobi, Yaounde. They employ 266 expatriates and 1 871 local persons.

38.       The aftermath of the conflict that broke out in Somalia in November 1991 reminded very much the sights of Solferino with thousands of wounded lying unattended in the streets. Wounded were piled up in the hospitals and operations were performed under trees and on the ground. The situation was too risky for international aid agencies to move in on a large scale. However, due to ICRC's long-standing presence in the area and its neutrality, it was able to bring in medical supplies, food and ICRC personnel. Yet, the needs were so great that only a small fraction of them could be satisfied.

39.       As the fighting has cut off Somalians from the rest of the world, the ICRC Tracing Agency stepped in to exchange messages between the family members abroad and those in Somalia. Since the services were put in place in April 1991, more than 20 000 messages have been exchanged.

40.       For several years, the ICRC has carried out tracing and dissemination activities, repatriated Ethiopian refugees from Somalia. In 1991, when the thirty-year fighting stopped in Ethiopia and hundreds of thousands of ex-soldiers started to move back to their homes, the ICRC helped the persons exhausted by the exodus by setting up transit centres supplying them food, water and blankets.

41.       The war in Sudan together with natural disasters have added to the despair of the civilian population. The ICRC has flown in relief supplies to isolated areas where displaced people have gathered. In 1991 alone over 2 000 000 people were displaced by the war.

42.       In Angola the ICRC has concentrated its efforts on protection and assistance for civilians, victims of the conflict. In May 1991, when the 16-year war ended, the ICRC could envisage to slowly withdraw from Angola after having performed its largest relief operation between September and December 1991. Some delegates will stay behind and supervise prisoner exchanges and help in tracing work.

Europe and North America

43.        Since the outbreak of the Yugoslavian crisis, the ICRC has been caring for displaced persons and supplying vital medical materials to hospitals. The ICRC has organised humanitarian truces and sent truckloads of supplies to the needy on both sides of the line and used ships under the protection of the Red Cross emblem. The ICRC was present in several locations and helped people regardless on whose side they were on. The ICRC was most present in assisting the displaced population. In February 1992 more than 600 000 people were displaced by the war, in June 1992 the number was estimated at close to two million.

44.       The ICRC was the only institution allowed to visit systematically prisoners held by all sides. During 1991 it visited nearly 6 000 prisoners; it also helped to expedite prisoner exchanges and releases. At the end of 1991, after several cease-fire agreements had been broken, the ICRC invited representatives of all sides to hold talks on humanitarian issues. This and other meetings have led, among other things, to the release of over 1 500 prisoners, to an agreement on establishing a protected zone in Osijek and Dubrovnik and to the creation of a committee to trace the missing and to identify the dead. The credibility earned by the ICRC delegates in the field allowed these talks, which dissociate humanitarian matters from political ones, to take place.

45.       In May 1992, when the battle in Bosnia-Herzegovina turned into very cruel fighting and the situation became particularly dangerous for civilians and relief and first-aid workers, the ICRC had to withdraw temporarily from the region following the death of an ICRC delegate during an attack on a humanitarian convoy bringing urgent medical assistance to the civil hospital of Sarajevo was attacked. Such indiscriminate shellings are unacceptable and undermine all basic principles of humanitarian law.

46.       Besides the crisis in Yugoslavia, the ICRC has been faced also with several conflicts elsewhere in Central and Eastern Europe. As the countries in the region do not know well the obligations arising from international humanitarian law, better information is urgently needed. For example, the ICRC is expected to continue supplying these countries mainly with material assistance and notably medicines even though it acts only in the case of emergencies and cannot intervene in order to help solve general problems arising from a deteriorating economic situation.

47.       The ICRC has expatriates in several republics of the former Soviet Union (Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and North Ossetia). Namely the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, which has led to serious tension between the neighbouring states of Armenia and Azerbaijan, has preoccupied the ICRC's action in the region. This conflict has caused the displacement of large numbers of people between the two countries. The ICRC has assisted the civilian population. It has launched a relief programme for the displaced persons including distribution of relief and medical supplies.

48.       In light of the growing tension and instability in the western part of Georgia, the ICRC has sent extra personnel to its delegations in Tbilisi. In March 1992, it established presence in North Ossetia. At present, the actual needs in the other republics of the former Soviet Union do not fall within the domain of the ICRC. If, however, conflicts arise and deepen in some regions, the ICRC will have to intervene.

49.       The ICRC's activities in Albania concentrate at the moment on disseminating humanitarian law to various target groups, notably the armed forces. The ICRC has also visited six prisoners, important members of the former regime, including the widow of Mr E Hoxha. It is also about to provide selective assistance to former political exiles.

50.       Having carried out several missions in Moldavia since the beginning of the year, the ICRC has established a permanent presence there since 25 June 1992, following the worsening of the situation in the precedings days. Since then, it has been able to visit those imprisoned on account of the conflict and to communicate Red Cross messages to their families. The ICRC has also provided medical assistance to various hospitals and family parcels to displaced persons.

Latin America

51.       The ICRC has ad hoc delegations in El Salvador and Peru. It also has regional delegations in Bogota, Brasilia, Buenos Aires, Guatemala City and San José. A total of 64 expatriates and 180 locals work in these offices.

52.       The ICRC provided populations in these countries with protection and assistance. It visited security detainees and gave medical assistance to the victims of political violence. In the face of the spread of cholera in Peru, the ICRC supplied medicines.

Asia and the Pacific

53.       The ICRC has continued to be deeply involved in Asia. In the 1990s Cambodia has been the ICRC's most important domain of activity in the region. Civilians fleeing the fighting have swelled the ranks of displaced people in camps over the Thai border and within Cambodia. Although the peace process is underway, the ICRC still has much to do in the field.

54.       In the move towards peace, the ICRC has been entrusted with a role of supervising the release of all remaining detainees. The tracing agency helps thousands of families to be reunited. In 1991, the number of cases reported to the agency increased rapidly to some 200 a month.


55.       In mid-February 1992, the ICRC headquarters in Geneva employed 640 persons and its New York office, which is in charge of relations with international organisations, seven persons. The ICRC has delegations and offices positioned in 50 different countries. These delegations are directed from the headquarters in Geneva and staffed by over 800 expatriates, generally Swiss citizens. They are assisted by more than 4 500 locally recruited employees. National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies participate in the ICRC field work by providing personnel, mainly for emergency medical and relief missions.

56.       The Central Tracing Agency (CTA) is operated by the Geneva headquarters. It traces thousands of people every year and bring them in touch with their family. According to the Geneva Conventions, the foreign enemy power should report the name, date of capture, state of health and place of detention of each person they have captured. Over the 127 years since it started its work, the CTA has helped millions of people to become reunited or find out what happened to their families.

57.       In 1990 alone over 74 000 tracing enquiries concerning missing persons were opened throughout the world, close to one million Red Cross messages were exchanged between separated family members, civilians and prisoners of war. The CTA helps also in issuing travel documents to those who did not have any kind of identification papers and needed them to travel to another country or to be repatriated.

58.       The ICRC has no resources or funds of its own. It is financed through voluntary contributions from parties to the Geneva Convention (in 1991, 83 governments contributed) and from the European Community, contributions from National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (82 of them contributed in 1991), private contributions and various gifts and legacies. In recent years contributions from private individuals have increased. National societies contributed more in kind and also seconded more of their personnel than ever before.

59.       In recent years the ICRC's operational budget has increased. At the same time the ICRC has been called on to intervene in an increasing number of armed conflicts. In 1991-92, the ICRC faced several emergency situations, such as the wars in the Gulf region and Yugoslavia. Thus, unexpectable demands were placed on the ICRC and it had to launch new appeals and to expand its initial budget for 1991 by over 75%. Although this appeal was responded to very favourably, the ICRC operations were underfunded of 54,2 million Swiss francs, but a few other operations overfunded for 44 million Swiss francs left a net deficit for 10,2 3million Swiss francs.


60.       The nature of conflicts the ICRC has intervened in recently has changed. They are more and more of a non-international nature and result from internal disturbances. The ideological character of conflicts and new war techniques have raised new problems for humanitarian action. Thus, the ICRC has been confronted with unfamiliar situations. The ICRC's principles of neutrality, impartiality and independence have allowed it to be present and act in several conflict areas. It treats all parties to a conflict equally and therefore it can reach such zones that would otherwise be impossible.

61.       In February 1992, Mr Sommaruga pointed out that a reflection was necessary on the need to adjust the structure of the ICRC to new situations. He set as a priority for the years to come the fighting against politicisation of humanitarian action.

62.       The ICRC co-operates with several international intergovernmental organisations. Besides the Council of Europe, it follows on a regular basis the work of the United Nations General Assembly, Economic and Social Council, Commission on Human Rights, World Health Organisation, International Labour Office and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. In October 1990, the ICRC was granted observer status in the General Assembly and in several United Nations committees. Moreover, the ICRC has close ties with the European Community, the Organisation of African Unity, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, the Organisation of American States and the regional parliamentary organisations.


63.       In recent years the number of people affected by crises is on the increase. Consequently, the ICRC has been involved in a greater number of cases than before. Many crises in which it has been involved have been cruel in nature and particularly dangerous for the ICRC delegates in the field. Regrettably, on several occasions there have been breaches in the security of the ICRC installations and means of transport.

64.       The ICRC has aimed at containing the effects of wars by constantly expanding humanitarian action. Unfortunately, the fact that on some occasions governments, party to the Geneva Conventions, have not respected humanitarian law has made the mission of the ICRC difficult to carry out. It seems therefore essential to increase political support for the action taken by the ICRC. As we are experiencing an increasing number of conflicts all over the world, the ICRC's role in the years to come should be strengthened.

65.       The increase in the number of crises in which the ICRC has intervened has entailed the need for increased financial contributions to the ICRC.

66.       Increased public support for the ICRC and the national societies is also necessary, as well as greater publicity in the Council of Europe member states for the ICRC and its activities. Moreover, the Council of Europe should support the development of the ICRC's activities in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. This should first and foremost include dissemination of humanitarian law and consequently establishment of some level of public awareness of the need to respect it. The National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have an active role to play in this field.




(in Swiss Francs)


1990 Budget

1991 Budget












181 056

844 091

1 025 147

378 000

1 996 000

2 374 000

1 348 853


409 394


409 394

841 833

2 113 715

2 955 548

2 546 154


20 000


20 000




- 20 000


30 000


30 000

30 000


30 000



100 000


100 000

100 000


100 000



1 118 693

8 028 100

9 146 793

1 239 018

8 021 050

9 260 068

113 275


932 905

12 430 629

13 363 534

876 178

12 994 904

13 871 082

507 548


1 315 000

3 280 000

4 595 000

1 400 000

3 913 010

5 313 010

718 010


970 750

12 552 238

13 522 988

1 049 400

12 939 066

13 988 466

465 478


183 400


183 400

183 400


183 400



10 000


10 000

10 000


10 000



45 000

375 000

420 000

51 111


51 111

- 368 889


178 320

134 400

312 720

186 640

56 313

242 953

- 69 767


2 785 000

10 531 647

13 316 647

2 801 400

8 771 337

11 572 737

-1 743 910


100 000


100 000

110 000

200 000

310 000

210 000


15 000

1 506 344

1 521 344


2 738 769

2 738 769

1 217 425


2 720


2 720

5 062

44 000

49 062

46 342


732 882

5 579 981

6 312 863

708 481

8 757 768

9 466 249

3 153 386


433 184

5 015 955

5 449 139

653 837

8 795 797

9 449 634

4 000 495


60 000


60 000




- 60 000


175 000

169 500

344 500

175 000

174 262

349 262

4 762

San Marino

12 900


12 900

15 000


15 000

2 100


1 101 231


1 101 231

1 250 000

1 045 761

2 295 761

1 194 530


1 350 000

30 964 648

32 314 648

1 900 000

39 369 444

41 269 444

8 954 796


45 000 000

27 864 232

72 864 232

50 000 000

26 918 701

76 918 701

4 054 469


131 183


131 183

70 621


70 621

- 60 562

United Kingdom

685 260

12 569 600

13 254 860

1 143 720

32 071 769

33 215 489

19 960 629



by member States


58 078 878

131 846 365

189 925 243

65 178 701

170 921 666

236 100 367

46 175 124



Chart showing signatures, ratifications and accessions at 16 June 1992

by the Council of Europe member States
















































































































Source: ICRC - S = Signature; R = Ratification

Reporting committee: Committee on Migration, Refugees and Demography.

Budgetary implications for the Assembly: None.

Origin: Resolution 921 (1989).

Draft resolution: unanimously adopted by the committee on 9 September 1992.

Members of the committee: MM. Flückiger (Chairman), Cucó, Gassner (Vice-Chairmen), Mrs Aguiar, Mrs Arnold, Mrs Astgeirsdottir,

MM. Attard Montalto, Biefnot, Billing, Böhm, Brennan, Brito, Eisma, Fiorini, Foschi (Alternate: Parisi), Mrs Francese (Alternate:

Mr Fiandrotti), MM. Fuhrmann, Galanos (Alternate: Hadjidemetriou), Galley, Ghesquière, Grussenmeyer, Mrs Hacklin (Alternate: Mr Laakso), Mr De Hoop Scheffer, Sir John Hunt, MM. Iwinski, Karcsay, Kiliç, Kiratlioglu, Lord Kirkhill, Mr Konen, Mrs Mascher, Mr Pahtas,

Mrs Persson (Alternate: Mr Franck), Mrs Robert, MM. Sarafopoulos, Siwek, Skaug, Mrs Sormova, Ms Szelényi, Mr Vázquez (Alternate:

Mrs Guirado).

NB.       The names of those members present at the meeting are underlined.

Secretaries to the committee: Mr Newman and Mrs Ruotanen.

1 1       On 9 September 1992, the committee was informal by the representative of the Israeli observer delegation to the Council of Europe that the present number of prisoners was 11 800.