Joint Working Group on the Emblems: statement by Mrs Christina Magnuson
30-06-2000 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 838
Geneva, 13-14 April 2000
Closing Statement by the Co-Chair, Mrs Christina Magnuson
I am sure everybody agrees that we have had a most stimulating and interesting debate during this first session of the Joint Working Group.
Even though I said at the outset that we were not required to produce a definitive solution at this meeting, I am very pleased to note that substantial progress has been made.
We have noted broad agreement around the table on some important points:
Unless the problems posed by the present situation concerning the emblems are resolved, it will not be possible for the Movement to reach universality. There was recognition that this matter is important not just to States and National Societies, but also to the Movement because of the Fundamental Principles.
We need to proceed towards a solution on the basis of a very broad consensus. This needs to pay proper regard to the interests and concerns of both States and National Societies.
That the solution option presented in the paper of October 1998 is an acceptable basis for further negotiations. This will involve the conclusion of a Third Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions. Such a Protocol should establish a new protective Emblem which would stand alongside the existing Emblems described in the First Geneva Convention. It shoul d be designed in a way which makes possible the insertion of an indicative sign relevant to the National Societies using it. There will also be a need for consequential amendments to the Movement Statutes.
This project should be the subject of intensive consultations with governments and National Societies, and drafting should take account of suggestions received during this process. Special account will be taken of the need for consultations with countries directly affected by the proposed solution.
Drafting should, initially, be entrusted to the ICRC and the International Federation, working together with the Secretariat of the Standing Commission. Members of the Joint Working Group will be kept up to date with the progress of drafting so that they may provide their suggestions and, importantly, assist the consultation process in their own regions. A working paper is being distributed by the ICRC to facilitate this work.
The outcome will be a legally sound product, negotiated as rapidly as possible but over a time frame which meets the practical needs of both governments and National Societies, and the legal requirements applicable to the convening of international conferences.
The Joint Working Group will meet, if needed, on 13-14 June 2000 to consider reports on drafting and the consultations conducted, and to finalise its recommendations to the Standing Commission.
The meeting also took note of the generous offer by the Government of Switzerland to facilitate the hosting of the required diplomatic conference.
Distinguished colleagues, this summary of the work we have done reflects very well indeed on our determination to complete our work within a time frame consistent with the mandate obligations provided by the Council of Delegates and the International Conference in 1999.
I very much look forward t o the work periods ahead, for I am sure they will demonstrate clearly the readiness of our Movement to move into this new millennium with world-wide coverage, truly marshalling the power of humanity. I hope that our work will make it possible to bring all peoples in as many countries as possible within the umbrella of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement, in the very near future.See also: Emblem