Unseen Passage: National Red Cross Society

Reading Comprehension

The self-governing National Red Cross Societies, including the Red Crescent (in Muslim countries) and the Red Lion and the Sun (in Iran), operate on the national level through their volunteer members, although they also participate in international work. Each must be recognized by the International Committee. Today numbering 114, these societies have Junior Red Cross Societies as well. Virtually all have disaster relief programmes, and many carry on welfare programmes, with community health and safety instruction, and so on. Since World War II, many of the European and Asian societies have also established refugee services.

The League of Red Cross Societies, a coordinating world federation of these societies, was established in 1919 as the result of proposals made by Henry P. Davison (1867-1922) of the American Red Cross. The League maintains contacts between the societies; acts as a clearing house for information; assists the societies in setting up new programmes and in improving or expanding old ones; coordinates international disaster operations. It functions under an executive committee and a board of governors in which every national society has representation.

The International Committee of the Red Cross [ICRC], a private, independent group of Swiss citizens chosen by co-optation (limited to twenty-five in number), acts during war or conflict whenever intervention by a neutral body is necessary, such action constitutes its special field of activity. As guardian of the Geneva Conventions and of Red Cross principles, it promotes its acceptance by governments, suggests their revision, works for further development of international humanitarian law, and recognizes new Red Cross Societies; it sends its Swiss delegates into prisoner-of-war camps, supervises repatriation, operates the Central Tracina Agency, supplies material relief, and the like.

The International Red Cross Conference, which met for the first time in 1867, is the highest legislative body. It is composed of representatives of the National Societies, the League, the International Committee, and the governments that have signed the Geneva Convention.

Q. Answer the following questions:

  1. By what name is the Red Cross Society known in Iran?
  2. What socially useful activities are performed by the Red Cross Societies?
  3. What are the functions of the League of Red Cross Society? (Mention any two)
  4. When does the International Committee of the Red Cross act?


  1. The Red Cross Society is known as ‘The Red Lion and the Sun’ in Iran.
  2. Socially useful activities such as disaster relief programmes, community health etc are performed by Red Cross Societies.
  3. Functions of the League of Red Cross Society are:
    • maintaining contact between societies
    • setting up new programmes,
    • coordination of international disaster operations.
  4. International Committee of the Red Cross acts during war whenever intervention by neutral body is required.

Q. Choose the correct alternatives:

  1. The organization which gives recognition to new Red Cross societies.
    1. Central Tracina Agency
    2. ICRC
    3. National societies
    4. None of the above
  2. Which one of these is a ICRC contribution to welfare programmes?
    1. sends delegates into prisoner-of-war camps
    2. it promotes their acceptance by governments
    3. supervises repatriation; supplies material relief etc.
    4. Both (i) and (iii)
  3. Which is the highest legislative body of the Red Cross Societies?
    1. National Red Cross Societies
    2. The International Committee
    3. Board of governors
    4. The International Red Cross Conference
  4. What does the word “intervention” mean?
    1. convention
    2. involvement
    3. innovation
    4. None of the above


  1. ICRC
  2. Both (1) and (2)
  3. The International Red Cross conference.
  4. involvement

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