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Continued backing for third protocol approach sought from 28th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent

19-11-2003

19.11.2003 – In 2000 the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement's Joint Working Group on the emblem proposed a third Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions as the Movement's solution to emblem problems. This was the culmination of a process which had effectively begun in 1992. The draft protocol proposed the creation of an additional emblem to the red cross and red crescent for use by those National Societies which did not wish to use the current emblems to identify themselves. It could also be used in conflicts where the current protective role of the emblems may not be respected. [see the text of the draft protocol in annex 1 ] .

The diplomatic conference of States called to adopt the additional emblem was postponed in October 2000. Plans by the Swiss government to recall it in early 2001 also had to be abandoned because of   the events in the Middle East at the end of September 2000.

Despite these setbacks, the draft additional protocol to the Geneva Conventions, which was sent to States in 2000, remained the basis on which the ICRC and the Federation believed a solution to emblem problems could be found.

In November 2001 the whole Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement debated the emblem issue during the biennial meeting of the Council of Delegates in Geneva. In a resolution it reaffirmed its support for the adoption by governments of a third Additional Protocol that would establish an additional emblem. Precisely, the resolution states: " The draft third protocol additional to the Geneva Conventions... constitutes an acceptable working basis for the resumption of negotiations when circumstances permit " .

In February 2002 the Standing Commission of the Movement set up an ad hoc working group to keep alive the third protocol approach and reinforce practical cooperation with National Societies awaiting formal recognition. The president of Israel's Magen David Adom and the secretary-general of the Eritrean Red Cross attended one of its sessions.  Progress has been good. The working group's report to the 2003 Council of Delegates lists almost 50 examples of closer cooperation with the MDA and over 30 with the Eritrean society since 2001.   Cooperation with the Palestine Red Crescent has also been increased.

The 28th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, which brings together governments and the whole of the Movement, will be asked in December 2003 to express its support for the draft third Additional Protocol as a sound basis for the resumption of negotiations when circumstances allow the reconvening of the 2000 adjourned diplomatic conference. [For the rationale behind this approach see " Towards a comprehensive solution to the question of the emblem " , revised second edition, November 2003, by ICRC director François Bugnion.