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Emblem: Long-term solution to a long-standing problem

16-06-2000

News release from the Standing Commission of the Red Cross and Red Crescent

The admission of Israeli and Kazakh national humanitarian societies to the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement now looks possible this year.

The Movement’s Standing Commission was told of progress at a meeting in Geneva on 15-16 June. Mrs Christina Magnuson (Sweden), the Chairman of the Standing Commission’s joint working group on the issue of the Movement’s emblems, concluded the moment had come to move quickly to adopt a new treaty which would solve the problems and see the two societies admitted to the Movement before the end of the year.

In international law (the Geneva Conventions), National Societies are required to use either the red cross or the red crescent in order to be recognized. The Kazakh society currently uses both, and the Israeli society the red star of David. The solution proposed would create a new additional emblem which could be used by the Kazakhs and the Israelis, and other National Societies which have difficulties using the cross or the crescent. A new additional emblem would stand alongside the existing red cross and red crescent emblems as part of the proposed solution. Discussions will continue on the form and name of the emblem to be used.

The Standing Commission recognized that there now appeared to be a growing consensus among both the 188 states party to the Geneva Conventions and the 176 national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies on the objective of securing universal membership this year.

The Standing Commission said it believed the outstanding issues should be resolved in negotiations among states, leading to a treaty which would give the solution the force of international law.

The next steps will be the finalization of a draft text by the International Committee of the Red Cross in consultation with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. The draft will then go to governments for treaty negotiations.

Mrs Magnuson said that Switzerland had confirmed that negotiations will continue over the coming months, concluding with the adoption of the new treaty at a diplomatic conference in Geneva in late October.

The Standing Commission named Mrs Magnuson as its special representative to the negotiating process ahead.