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Spain – Belgium joint stamp issue – 150 Years of the Red Cross

Spain – Belgium joint stamp issue – 150 Years of the Red Cross
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The postal administrations of Spain and Belgium have come together to jointly issue stamps commemorating the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Red Cross. The two countries illustrate their respective stamps with motives allusive to the organization.

The idea of founding an international society for humanitarian aid arises from the Swiss Henry Dunant (Geneva, 1828-1909) after witnessing the Battle of Solferino in 1859 between the Austrian army against the French and Piedmonts leaving in a single day on both sides, 40,000 soldiers dead or wounded on the battle field. Jean-Henri Dunant was shocked by the terrible aftermath of the battle, the suffering of the wounded soldiers and the near-total lack of medical attendance and basic care. Impressed by the tragedy he conceived the idea of creating a neutral aid organization to provide humanitarian aid regardless of races, nationalities and beliefs.

Back in Geneva his proposal was backed up by another four Swiss citizens subsequently been referred to as the "Committee of the Five," This committee founded in 1863 the International Committee of the Red Cross, whom, with the support of the Swiss government, held a year later the first diplomatic conference attended by 16 European countries including Spain and the United States.

The Red Cross is a global humanitarian movement headquartered in Geneva (Switzerland). In Muslim countries it is known as the Red Crescent. The fundamental principles governing the Red Cross and Red Crescent are humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality. The emblems identifying the organization -a Red Cross or Red Crescent on a white background- are recognized by all countries.

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