An additional emblem for use by the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement
Traditionally, the red cross and red crescent have been the emblems of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. They are used to protect medical personnel, buildings and equipment in time of armed conflict and to identify National Societies, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). The ICRC uses the red cross. The IFRC uses both emblems together. National Societies have to choose one emblem to represent their society.
Though the red cross and red crescent are meant to be symbols of neutrality, some countries feel that they have religious, political or cultural connotations. Therefore, they would like to use other emblems, for example the Red Shield of which is used by the Magen David Adom of Israel or both the red crescent and red cross emblems together in some countries. Until recently, this was not possible under the terms of the Geneva Conventions and the statutes of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
In order to resolve this situation, an additional emblem was adopted in December 2005 by a Diplomatic Conference of States Party to the Geneva Conventions. This additional emblem will be known as the red crystal and appears as a red frame in the shape of a square on edge, on a white background, and is free from any religious, political or other connotation. It has the same status as all emblems recognized by the Geneva Conventions.
The adoption of an additional emblem and the changes to the Statutes of the Movement (June 2006) also paved the way for the admission of the Magen David Adom of Israel and the Palestine Red Crescent Society into the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
The Canadian Red Cross has actively supported the efforts of the Standing Commission of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, the ICRC and the IFRC over the past several years to achieve a lasting solution to this complex issue. We are pleased with the resolution, and welcome the additional emblem.
More information and a comprehensive explanation of the emblem issue can be found on the Federation’s Web site at http://www.ifrc.org/ (under “Who We Are”) or the ICRC’s website at http://www.icrc.org/ (under “Focus”).
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