The Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society is the biggest humanitarian organization functioning in the Republic whose role is identified by the state law. The Society is the integral part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement – the biggest humanitarian institution in the world. The National Society is one of the three components of the Movement. (The components of the Movement are : The International Committee of the Red Cross, the National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies).
The Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society was established on 10 March 1920. The National Society is considered a successor of the Azerbaijan Republic (1918-1920) – the first Democratic Republic in the Muslim east. The initiator of the establishment of the National Society was acting minister of defense of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic and a popular historical person general-lieutenant Aliagha Shikhlinsky. Fatali Khan Khoysky who was the minister of Foreign Affairs of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic at that time also was one the nearest supporters of the establishment of the National Red Crescent Society. Our National Society took a responsibility to assist military medical services of the country in time of war ( since its inception the main goal of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is to assist in time of war the wounded soldiers and every civilian person who does not take part in hostilities) and to assist vulnerable people in the Republic.
After well-known April incidents of the year 1920 ( occupation of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic by Soviet army) all property belonging to the Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society was confiscated and given to the state on the basis of relevant direction given by the leader of Bolsheviks Vladimir Ilich Lenin. Until the year 1922 a delegation of the Russian Red Cross Society under the leadership of Kuznetsov was formally functioning in Azerbaijan. In October 1922 the Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society (Hilal Ahmer) was re-established in Azerbaijan with the decree of the Council of People’s Commissars of the Azerbaijan Soviet Republic. And Kuznetsov was given a task to supervise the activity of the Society. In 1925-1991 the Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society functioned as a part of the Soviet League of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
In 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union the Republic of Azerbaijan regained its independence and gave an independency to its National Red Crescent Society according to international standards. Just in that period (beginning from the year 1988) 20 % of the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan has been occupied by its neighbor – the Republic of Armenia. (in 1994 a cease-fire was announced between the parties. Until now 20 % of the Azerbaijani territories is under occupation). Immediately after Khojali Genocide the International Committee of the Red Cross came to Azerbaijan and opened its delegation in Azerbaijan in accordance with its mandate. Since that time the International Committee of the Red Cross has been functioning in Azerbaijan as a partner of the Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society. In 1992-1995 about 600 our citizens were released from Armenian captivity with support of the International Committee of the Red Cross. This process continues up to now. As a result of war about 300.000 our citizens were forced to flee from their historical lands in Armenia and they became a refugee. And about 700.000 our citizens were displaced within Azerbaijan as a result of occupation of 20% of Azerbaijani territories and they received a status of an internally displaced person. In that difficult period the support of the Iranian and Turkish Red Crescent Societies to the Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society and in general to the state of the Azerbaijan was great. The National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies of other countries also assisted to Azerbaijan. The Iranian and Turkish Red Crescent Societies assisted with erection of tent camps to shelter our 100 thousands refugees and displaced people. They also met daily requirements of these people. Taking into account the scale of the humanitarian crisis the Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society officially appealed to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies for help. In 1994 the positive response was given by the Federation to this appeal. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies opened its delegation in Azerbaijan. The Federation took a responsibility of the management and provision of the camps. Of course, in that difficult period of our country the Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society did a lot of work and its role was great.
In order to the Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society can be recognized by the International Committee of the Red Cross as a neutral and impartial organization and admitted as a full member to the International Federation there was a need for the state of Azerbaijan to recognize its National Society. For this purpose, on October 25, 1994 the Parliament of Azerbaijan Republic issued a decree No 926 recognizing the National Red Crescent Society as the only humanitarian organization functioning on the territory of the county and belonging to the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. After this decree on the 1stof November 1995 the National Society was officially recognized by the ICRC and then on November 27 of the same year was admitted as a full member to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
Since 1999 up to date the president of the Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society is Mr. Novruz Aslanov who is a public figure, popular composer, a delegate of the National Parliament and a doctor of philosophy.
The 10th of March is celebrated as a day of establishment of the Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society in the country with the decree dated 7 April 2008 of the President of Azerbaijan Republic and honorary member of the Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society Mr. Ilham Aliyev.
11 nurses of the Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society were awarded with Florence Nightingale medal – the highest award of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. The names of these nurses are given below :
Sariyya Talishkhanova ( was awarded in 1979), Rashida Gasimzade (was awarded in 1983), Gizbas Asadova (was awarded in 2005), Durra Mammadova (was awarded in 2005), Firuza Aliyeva (was awarded in 2005), Zehra Mammadova (was awarded in 2007), Seadet Mammadova (was awarded in 2007), Lamara Akhundova (was awarded in 2007), Gultekin Gafarova- Askerzadeh (was awarded in 2009), Umleyla Aslanova (was awarded in 2009), Vefa Amirova (was awarded in 2011).
The Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society consists of HQ situated in Baku city, Youth Committee, 7 Regional Centers (Baku, Ganja, Sumgayit, Mingechevir, Sabirabad, Lenkaran, Garabakh), Nakhchevan Autonomous Republic Committee, 83 district branches and primary organizations functioning in big state and education institutions.
The number of the members of the Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society is about 300.000 people. The number of volunteers is 20.000 people (according to statistics of the year 2012).
The Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society has Disaster Preparedness and Disaster Response, Health and Care, Youth and Volunteers, Humanitarian Relief, Migration, Information and International Relations, Fundraising departments, Tracing Service, Dissemination of the International Humanitarian Law, Community Development, Weapon Contamination sectors.
Comment: You may have more information about the Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society by reading a book “ the Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society-in the flow of time” which is available in country libraries. The author of the book is Novruz Aslanov, the president of the Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society, a delegate of the National Parliament, a doctor of philosophy.
You may learn about state laws, decrees on the National Society, official Memorandums of Understanding signed with the National Society by visiting relevant sectors in the official internet website of the Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society: www.redcrescent.az