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Additional emblem for the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement

12-10-2000 News Release 00/38

Geneva - Substantial progress on the draft protocol which would create an additional emblem for the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement has been achieved after sixmonths of extensive consultations. It represents a major success for the process, started with renewed determination at the beginning of 2000, with the clear objective of finding a solution before the end of the year.

The protocol has to be put to a diplomatic conference of states which are party to the Geneva Conventions. This had been planned for the end of this month, but will now be held early in 2001, following further consultations conducted by Switzerland as the depository of the Geneva Conventions. Until recently, there was a real chance for a successful conference this year. Events have, however, changed the prospects.

" The ICRC understands the Swiss government's decision to postpone the conference under the present circumstances, " said Jakob Kellenberger, President of the ICRC, " but the strong determination I had from the moment of my taking office remains unchanged - to contribute to the creation, as quickly as possible, of the conditions for full membership of the Movement, of societies which have problems with existing emblems. "

There is now wide consensus among the states on the need for an additional emblem which could not be perceived as having any national, political or religious connotations - a major achievement for all involved in the recent negotiations.

" No one at the start of this year believed we would get so far so quickly " , said DidierCherpitel, Secretary-General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Re d Crescent Societies. " The work done, and represented in the draft protocol, is a clear expression of the wish of the world community to achieve true universality for our Movement as soon as possible. The past months have shown that our approach is working and we are determined to bring it to a successful conclusion " , he said.

An additional emblem would provide protection in conflicts where the use of the red cross or red crescent is not well accepted. It would also open the door to recognition and admission for the National Societies which have a problem with existing emblems.

" The whole Movement is committed to universality, " said HRH Princess Margriet, chairman of the Standing Commission, " we are determined to make it a reality and will be working with Switzerland with a view to success in early 2001. "