Recently, the misuse of the red cross emblem in video games has received media attention. But the issue of protecting the red cross emblem is not new. Despite the efforts of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement over many years, the emblem has been improperly displayed by individuals, businesses and organizations in a vast range of uses from first aid suppliers through to children’s toys. Unfortunately, many people mistakenly assume that the red cross is in the “public domain” and can be used by anyone.
In fact, the red cross emblem is an important symbol of humanitarian protection. It is recognized as such in both Canadian and international law which prohibit its unauthorized use. Misuse of this valued symbol distorts its meaning and its protective value for victims of conflict and the aid workers that assist them.
Whether it is transporting vulnerable people in Red Cross vehicles and ambulances, treating their wounds or illnesses in Red Cross hospitals and medical aid posts or providing them with housing and refuge in Red Cross camps and facilities, in the field the red cross is a clear, distinctive sign of humanitarian assistance and protection.
In an increasingly uncertain world, this protective use of the red cross emblem has become more and more important. In the past ten years, there have been 162 fatalities among Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement personnel including two Canadians.
When someone misuses the red cross, (the video game industry being just one of many), we seek their cooperation in ending the unauthorized use. In nearly all cases, they comply and no further action is necessary. As a humanitarian organization, our preferred choice is to educate people about the emblem and seek their cooperation. That includes the makers of video games whose products touch the lives of millions.
The red cross is a powerful symbol of neutrality, impartiality, humanity and hope. Please help us protect it!
For more information please visit:
The Red Cross Emblem
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)
International Committee of the Red Cross
We need you to join us in ensuring that the red cross emblem continues to have the power and respect it needs. Please help us to protect the red cross emblem in Canada.
To report abuse of the red cross emblem, please complete the Emblem Misuse Form.