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Progress on Red Cross/Red Crescent emblem issue

14-04-2000 News Release 00/07

A joint working group on the emblem, composed of representatives from 16 States - including the five permanent UN Security Council members, as well as 8 representatives from the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement, has announced it will recommend a third protective emblem be added to the Geneva Conventions. The emblem would be additional to the red cross and red crescent.

The new emblem is meant as a solution for those National Societies which do not want to use either the red cross or the red crescent. Some examples are Israel's Magen David Adom which has used a red star of David for some 50 years, as well as the Kazakh and Eritrean societies, who want to use both the red cross and the red crescent. The joint working group's proposal would mean agreeing to a Third Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions. The proposal will be submitted to the Red Cross/Red Crescent's Standing Commission, the Movement's highest deliberative body, which will decide on the preparation of a draft protocol, probably in June. A diplomatic conference of States could then be called in the autumn, followed by an extraordinary International Conference (grouping States and the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement), to agree to a third Additional Protocol and amend the Movement's Statutes.

The Joint working group was set up following a resolution adopted by the 27th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in November 1999. That resolution called for a comprehensive solution to the emblem issue, as rapidly as possible, acceptable to all parties in both content and process.

As an example of what the change might mean, the joint working group is using a red diamond, proposed as a possible solution by an internal Red Cross/Red Crescent body in 1997. But other possibilities could also be considered. Such a symbol could carry within it an indicative sign appropriate to a particular National Society. For protective purposes, however, the red diamond or red cross or red crescent would be used.

This idea will now be tested among the 188 States party to the Geneva Conventions, the 176 Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the candidate societies.

 Joint Working Group on the Emblems    Statement by François Bugnion, 13 April 2000