By Faranak Bakhtiari

A century of sincere voluntary service

May 8, 2022 - 18:32

TEHRAN – Coinciding with World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day, the Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) celebrated its 100th anniversary on May 8.

A special ceremony was held in Tehran on Sunday attended by nearly 90 foreign participants including Francesco Rocca, the IFRC President, and Robert Mardini, Director General of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

The Red Crescent Society of Iran, founded in 1922, is today, 100 years after its establishment, one of the most important National Societies that we have in our Network, Rocca stated.

“Today, we are proud to see the IRCS as a strong member of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement - with extensive capacities in Relief and Rescue, Health, and Physical Rehabilitation, among others.”And today, in terms of the humanitarian mandate, the IRCS mobilize some 2 million volunteers across the country, which is extremely impressive; there are neither many National Societies nor humanitarian relief organization - worldwide, that have the same strength and reach as the IRCS, he highlighted.

The diligent humanitarian work of IRCS to help those in need in Iran is commendable, he said, appreciating their efforts in the fight against the global COVID-19 pandemic.

“Here in Iran, the IFRC is strongly committed to continue the support and further strengthen the cooperation and mutual growth to ensure continued high-quality humanitarian assistance to those in need.

We will also continue our collective efforts to advocate and enhance our humanitarian diplomacy efforts to mitigate the impact of the sanctions in the humanitarian field in Iran,” he emphasized.

Mardini also stated that the IRCS has gone from strength to strength over the decades, providing humanitarian services in numerous natural and man-made disasters. Today, we are proud to see the IRCS as a strong member of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement - with extensive capacities in Relief and Rescue, Health, and Physical Rehabilitation, among others. 

The ICRC dearly values our long-standing partnership with the Red Crescent Society of Iran, he highlighted, expressing eagerness to develop and strengthen bilateral relations.

“Responding to the protection and assistance needs of undocumented migrants who are continuing to arrive from Afghanistan is one, which builds on Iran’s long history and experience of hosting and helping millions of migrants.

Expanding and deepening our exchanges and discussions with the National Committee on Humanitarian Law of Iran is another. And seeing how we can cooperate effectively beyond the borders of Iran is yet another,” Mardini noted.

IRCS services

The IRCS, established in 1922, is one of the first and oldest members of the movement and is currently one of the top five societies in the world due to its significant activities in the national and international arenas.

In 2005, the IRCS received the Henry Davison Award for outstanding humanitarian services, and the IRCS initiative of volunteers was selected as the best project (out of 50 projects from 45 national societies), by the General Assembly of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

In addition to offering services to the victims of natural disasters in the country, it has taken numerous missions in international disasters and incidents helping the people of Afghanistan, Palestine, Iraq, Southeast Asia earthquakes, Lebanon, Gaza, Somalia, and Yemen.

In case of natural disasters or for provision of medical services to the deprived, it dispatches medical teams, which consist of doctors, paramedics, nurses, social workers, and health experts who are sent to provide free health care to disadvantaged areas and villages identified and assessed by other volunteer groups.

Moreover, the Iranian Red Crescent Society provides medical services to people in 13 Asian, African, and Latin American countries.

Currently, some 14 medical facilities are offering humanitarian, relief, and health services to the deprived people in 13 countries, including Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, the United Arab Emirates, Bolivia, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Congo, Kenya, Lebanon, Mali, Niger, and Ecuador.

The IRCS polyclinic center includes various departments such as laboratory, pharmacy, radiology and physiotherapy, and general practitioners along with obstetricians, gynecologists, internal medicine, pediatrics, ophthalmologists, and dentists.

World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day

May 8 is celebrated annually as the World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day. The theme this year is Be Humankind. Everyone loves small acts of kindness. This year is an opportunity for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, with their nearly 15 million dedicated volunteers worldwide, to unite in an unwavering commitment to common humanity.

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