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The red cross emblem

22-09-1997 News Release 97/26

It has recently been reported in the press that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was about to give up its traditional emblem, a red cross on a white ground. This assertion is incorrect.

It is true that for a number of years the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement has been encountering problems arising from the plurality of the protective emblems. For this reason, a working group has drawn up a document containing a whole series of proposals, including the possibility of adopting a design such as a " red diamond " as a third emblem. The document will be discussed by all the components of the Movement in Seville, Spain, on 26  and 27 November 1997.

Eventually this third emblem might be used, together with the red cross and the red crescent, to designate persons and objects that must be protected in conflict situations, as stipulated in the 1949 Geneva Conventions. The use of such a sign would, however, have to be approved by all 188 States party to the Geneva Conventions.

It should be recalled that the red cross emblem has no religious connotation whatsoever, being a reversal of the colours of the Swiss flag. It was proposed in 1863 at the International Conference which gave birth to the Red Cross Movement.