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Towards a third emblem: Red Cross Red Crescent breakthrough

11-05-2000

Press release issued by the Standing Commission of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement, Geneva, 11 May 2000

The Standing Commission of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement held a special meeting on 11 May in Nice under the chairmanship of Princess Margriet of the Netherlands.

The Chairman said a consensus was emerging on a way to admit the Magen David Adom in Israel Society and the Red Crescent and Red Cross Society of Kazakhstan to full membership of the Movement before the end of 2000.

 
The Standing Commission decided to convene the 28th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent on 14 November. Invitation letters are now being dispatched.

The meeting, which will be held in Geneva, is necessary to amend the statutes of the Movement. The amendments would allow the International Committee of the Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to recognize and admit the two societies.

The Standing Commission's decision came after long and complex negotiations involving many governments, national societies and experts. The process was initiated by the Standing Commission in 1995. The chairman complimented the Standing Commission's working group on the subject, chaired by Mrs Christina Magnuson of Sweden, for perseverance in building consensus. She also thanked the ICRC and the International Federation for their constructive assistance in bringing about this result.

There will be two stages in the process. First there will be a diplomatic conference of government representatives who would be asked to adopt a new protocol (treaty) supplementary to the Geneva Conventions. It would create an additional protective emb lem to stand alongside the red cross and the red crescent. The emblem would be designed to allow societies, including Magen David Adom and the Red Crescent and Red Cross Society of Kazakhstan, to place their own indicative signs within it. It would also be possible for other societies to do the same thing with other recognized signs, if they wished to do so.

The second stage would be the consequential amendment of the Movement statutes, which at present allow only societies using the red cross or the red crescent to be recognized.

The new emblem will not replace the existing emblems currently used by the 176 National Societies.

The chairman stated that this result was a breakthrough addressing long-lasting problems for some societies, but it is also a forward-looking outcome. She said it will be an attractive option for some other National Societies, especially when they are working to provide humanitarian relief and protection in territories where their own emblem is not well understood.

 The International Federation, the ICRC and the National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies together constitute the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.