This Code of Conduct seeks to guard our standards of behaviour. It is not about operational details, such as how one should calculate food rations or set up a refugee camp. Rather, it seeks to maintain the high standards of independence, effectiveness and impact to which disaster response NGOs and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement aspires. It is a voluntary code, enforced by the will of organization accepting it to maintain the standards laid down in the Code.

In the event of armed conflict, the present Code of Conduct will be interpreted and applied in conformity with international humanitarian law.

The Code of Conduct forms Annex VI to the resolutions of the 26th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, Geneva, 1995, and was prepared jointly by the IFRC and ICRC.


The Code’s ten principles highlight, among other things, the right of disaster-affected populations to receive humanitarian assistance without discrimination and the crucial role played by women in disaster-prone communities. Emphasis is also placed on protecting and preserving the dignity of beneficiaries.

The Code has three annexes containing recommendations for governments of disaster-affected countries, donor governments and intergovernmental organizations. The general thrust of these recommendations is the need to ensure rapid access to disaster victims, timely delivery of appropriate assistance and respect for the independence and impartiality of humanitarian organizations.

Usage: Behavior guidelines

Audience: National Society staff and volunteers

See also: Principles and Rules for Red Cross and Red Crescent Humanitarian Assistance [pdf, 0.2 MB]


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