The first organized forms of the Red Cross in Bosnia and Herzegovina originate from 1914. The organization formed in that period was called ‘Bosnia and Herzegovina Society for Assistance and Voluntary Medical assistance during the war and in cases of large scale disasters in the peacetime’ and its goals were identical to those of the Red Cross.
Respecting the historical identity and continuity of the Red Cross of BiH, the State of Bosnia and Herzegovina has recognized the organization’s long history of operations by passing the Law on the Use and Protection of the Emblem and the Name of the Red Cross Society of BiH (Official Gazette of BiH no: 11/02) and the Law on the Red Cross Society of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Official Gazette of BiH no: 49/04.).
The Red Cross Society of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: RCS BiH) is a component of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (hereinafter: Movement). It was recognized by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on 8 May 2001 and admitted as a member to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) on 7 November 2001.
The relevant provisions of the law and the statutes define the RCS BiH as a humanitarian organization of citizens of BiH, recognized and authorized to pursue certain humanitarian goals, tasks and public authority with regard to health education activities, social protection, tracing service and other program activities in peace time and during natural and other disasters, emergency situations, in accordance with the principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality.
RCS BiH is the only Red Cross organization which is operational throughout the entire territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is composed of the Red Cross of the Federation of BiH, the Red Cross of Republika Srpska and the Red Cross of Brcko District BiH.
With a view to upgrading the internal structure, the RCS BiH Assembly adopted the revised statutes in May 2006 and introduced the posts of a Secretary General, one President and two Vice-Presidents of the RCS BiH. These provisions of the Statute, the implementation of which is still underway, will contribute to better coordination within the structure, clear definition of the rights and duties of the members, governance and management structures, funding basis, technical service, properties protection issues and other issues that contribute to clear definition of governance and management roles.
RCS BiH has modern, widely recognized and accepted programs. with its single network of Red Cross organizations and volunteers, which represent the foundation of the organization, RCS BiH, independently or in partnership with the governmental institutions or other non-governmental humanitarian organizations, has initiated and conducted a series of activities in response to the needs of the most vulnerable categories of population.