The International Rescue Committee began to assist those facing persecution during the Second World War, moving to support emergency relief and refugee resettlement following the conflict’s end. Ever since, we have supported refugees from around the world - from Hungary, Vietnam and Angola to Syria, South Sudan and Myanmar.

Today, in over 40 countries, our dedicated teams do whatever it takes to help people affected by conflict and disaster. We ensure people not only survive but also recover and thrive, leading lives defined by the hope and dignity we all deserve.

Our story in photos

food distribution to families. In the background a poster saying "Spende des amerikanischen Volkes".

At the end of World War II, the IRC initiated emergency relief programmes, like this food distribution centre in Berlin, and began refugee resettlement in Europe. Photo: IRC

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People waving out of a train

In 1956, the IRC began relief and resettlement efforts for thousands of Hungarian refugees who were uprooted when a revolt against Soviet rule was crushed by the Red Army. Photo: IRC

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A cuban refugee family in the IRC restettlement office

In the 1960s, the IRC’s first resettlement office outside of New York opened in Miami, to assist Cuban refugees fleeing the Castro dictatorship. Photo: IRC

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two little boys sitting on the ground

When 200,000 Angolans escaped their country’s colonial government during the war of independence in 1962, the IRC launched its first programmes in Africa. Photo: Nick Erjavec/IRC

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a small child looking in the camera

From 1954 to 1975, the IRC worked aiding Vietnamese refugees displaced by conflict. Following the Vietnam War, the IRC took a lead role in the largest refugee resettlement programme in American history. Photo: IRC

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A boy watering a small tree

Within weeks of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, the IRC rushed to aid Afghan refugees who poured into Pakistan. More than three decades later, we continue to provide to a country still riddled by conflict. Photo: IRC

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two elderly refugee women lying on matresses in a tent

The IRC began work in the former Yugoslavia in 1992 following the ethnic cleansing carried out by the Serbs in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Since 1993, we’ve resettled over 20,000 refugees from the Balkans in the U.S.. Photo: Elizabeth Rappaport/IRC

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a mother smiles at her two children, one of them still a baby

In 1994, as a result of the Rwandan genocide and civil war, the IRC established emergency programmes to aid Rwandan refugees. In the years following, the IRC helped to reunite families separated in the chaos. Photo: IRC

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a woman handing out papers to a big group of children

After a tsunami hit Indonesia on December 26, 2004, our mobile relief teams arrived to provide emergency aid to those affected - including providing child friendly spaces for children displaced by the disaster. Photo: Peter Biro/IRC

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A young girl and a elderly woman in front of a poor tent

As the conflict in Darfur displaced thousands, the IRC was one of the only organisations assisting refugees pouring into Chad at the beginning of the conflict. More than a decade years later, millions remain displaced. Photo: Peter Biro/IRC

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two IRC workers, one of them fully dressed in a sterile suit

Since the outbreak began in 2014, IRC has been on the forefront of the fight to stem the spread of the Ebola in Sierra Leone and Liberia. We’re working closely with local partners to help communities rebuild and recover. Photo: Peter Biro/IRC

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A young boy and IRC worker crouching besides a baby tree

RC deployed an emergency team to the Greek island of Lesbos in July 2015 to aid thousands of refugees arriving to Europe from Turkey. We continue to work in Europe and in the Syrian region to assist Syrian refugees fleeing their country’s brutal civil war. Photo: Tyler Jump/IRC

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Our Work in Action

Our values

At the IRC we believe that every human being can lead a meaningful life, and that the principles of social justice and inalienable human dignity are universal.

The people we serve teach us moral courage and enduring hope in the face of crisis, and we are committed to standing up for their needs, listening to them and amplifying their voices.

No one should be left behind based solely on their identity or where they were born. We believe it is our mission to empower the most vulnerable people on earth, and we are committed to continuously improving the way we work, using innovation and evidence to ensure we deliver positive lasting impact.

What we do

  • 2022-serve
    We serve
    People affected by conflict and disaster to survive, recover and rebuild their lives
  • 2022-work
    We work
    In 40+ countries, supporting communities from emergency relief to resettlement in safe harbour
  • 2022-respond
    We respond
    Within 72 hours, staying to help until the job is done and those affected not only survive, but thrive
  • 2022-advocate
    We advocate
    on behalf of people caught in crisis, encouraging governments to work smarter and do more

From our president

David Miliband

This is about the rescue of us and our values as well as the rescue of refugees and their lives.

David Miliband
President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee