Key Tenets Intercultural Access in the German Red Cross (GRC)

To adhere to the Fundamental Principles of the Red Cross and Red Crescent[1] means working for and showing solidarity with all people who are particularly vulnerable and as a result, excluded. At the same time, the GRC supports equal rights, mutual respect and a peaceful coexistence of all people regardless of their origin, culture and ideology. 

People with a migration background make up an essential part of our society. We are, thus, faced with the challenge to live together in a community that is ethnically and culturally diverse and to strive towards integration.

Integration postulates that participation in social life be based on equal rights for all. To facilitate such participation and equal opportunities, specific measures aiming to bring about structural changes in the receiving society, its institutions and organisations are required.

The following nine principles have been formulated to foster the process of intercultural access within our National Society in accordance with its mission statement particularly allowing for and respecting the diversity and equality among all human beings, hereby, fulfilling already formulated past resolutions.

--> The Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement as well as specific resolutions of international and national bodies prompted, already in 1994, the German Red Cross to adopt a policy to “involve migrants as co-operating partners in all aspects of life in the National Society”.

--> The Strategic Planning for the Service Area of Migration responded in 1998 by specifying “that all GRC services and programmes should be made accessible to migrants, that migrants be involved in the everyday work of the GRC and that intercultural competence be developed as a key skill among the GRC staff”. 

--> In the face of increasingly diverse communities, the Strategy 2010 appeals to all National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, to ensure that “decision-making positions reflect the make-up of the population”.

--> At the European Regional Conference of 2002, National Societies pledged to undertake result-oriented activities, tailored to existing needs to develop a culture of integration and a balanced bond of people from all sectors of society according to the culture of diversity.

--> The Council of Delegates in 2003 adopted a resolution requesting National Societies to “promote tolerance, non-discrimination and respect for cultural diversity” and to undertake appropriate measures to this end. In particular, an “assessment of the composition of the leadership, staff, volunteers and membership of the organisation" should be conducted, any "imbalances in membership on whatever ground race, religion, sex, age must be identified and forcibly addressed” in order to ensure “that we are viewed as tolerant, non-discriminatory and that we respect diversity”.

--> In 2004, the Presidential Committee of the GRC emphasised “the necessity of promoting intercultural access in the GRC as a key task” and further recommended “that the planned activities be implemented”.

Principles for intercultural access in the German Red Cross

• The GRC ensures the participation and recognition of migrants in the National Society, thereby, contributing to their integration in the community.

• The GRC considers intercultural access to be an essential contribution for amending its programmes and services in response to the challenge of cultural diversity, imperative for securing its own sustainability in the long-term.

• Within the GRC, people with a migration background are regarded as members, decision-makers, staff, volunteers, clients as well as customers with an equal status and having equal rights.

• The GRC is committed to combating discrimination on the basis of ethnic, cultural or religious ideologies.

• The GRC designs its programmes and services with the intention of being accessible to everyone, regardless of ethnic origin, cultural background or ideological conviction.

• The GRC promotes the intercultural competence skills among its volunteers and staff and values intercultural competence as a special asset in recruitment efforts.

• The GRC markets intercultural access in its public relation activities.

• The GRC maintains internal and external co-operation and networking in support of the National Society's intercultural access, particularly with migrants' self-help associations and organisations.

• The GRC reviews the progress of intercultural access at regular intervals.

 

[1] The Fundamental Principles of the Red Cross and Red Crescent were proclaimed in Vienna, 1965 at the XXth International Conference.

Humanity

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, born of a desire to bring assistance without discrimination to the wounded on the battlefield, endeavours, in its international and national capacity, to prevent and alleviate human suffering wherever it may be found. Its purpose is to protect life and health and to ensure respect for the human being. It promotes mutual understanding, friendship, co-operation and lasting peace amongst all peoples.

Impartiality

It makes no discrimination as to nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions. It endeavours to relieve the suffering of individuals, being guided solely by their needs, and to give priority to the most urgent cases of distress.

Neutrality

In order to continue to enjoy the confidence of all, the Movement may not take sides in hostilities or engage at any time in controversies of a political, racial, religious or ideological nature.

Independence

The Movement is independent. The National Societies, while auxiliaries in the humanitarian services of their governments and subject to the laws of their respective countries, must always maintain their autonomy so that they may be able at all times to act in accordance with the principles of the Movement.

Voluntary service

It is a voluntary relief movement not prompted in any manner by desire for gain.

Unity

There can be only one Red Cross or one Red Crescent Society in any one country. It must be open to all. It must carry on its humanitarian work throughout its territory.

Universality

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, in which all Societies have equal status and share equal responsibilities and duties in helping each other, is worldwide.