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humanitarian law


As depositary of the Geneva Conventions, Switzerland considers the defence of human rights a priority.

June 24, 1859: 24,000 bodies and 40,000 injured lie on the plain of Solferino in Italy after battle. Horrified by the carnage, Henry Dunant draws up principles aimed at cutting down on the barbarism of war. The idea for the Red Cross is born. Four years later, the first Geneva Conventions are signed, with Switzerland as the depositary state. The Red Cross movement is still the world's most important non-governmental humanitarian organisation. And Switzerland considers the defence of human rights a priority.

570,000 prisoners are visited each year by delegates of the International Committee of the Red Cross in 80 countries where the organisation has a foothold.

13,200 people work for the ICRC around the world, including 1,400 delegates in the field.

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WEF 2018

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