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International conference paves the way for red crystal

22-06-2006 News Release 06/65

The 29th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent has amended the Statutes of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to incorporate the additional emblem of the red crystal, which now has the same status as the red cross and red crescent. In addition the participants to the International Conference requested that the ICRC and the International Federation recognize and admit the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PCRS) into the Movement.

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As a consequence of this successful outcome the ICRC has now recognized the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) and the Israeli National Society, Magen David Adom (MDA), and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies will admit both National Societies. This outcome extends the universality of the Movement to an important area of Red Cross and Red Crescent operations and strengthens the operational cooperation of the two National Societies with each other and with their international partners in the Movement.

The Conference had been convened as a follow-up to the diplomatic conference of States in December 2005, which adopted the Third Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions, creating an additional protective emblem for the Movement, known as the red crystal.

The chairman of the International Conference Mohammed Al Hadid declared that: ‘‘This is an historical moment for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. We urge all governments to respect the red crystal, in addition to the red cross and the red crescent’’.

The acceptance by States party to the Geneva Conventions of the Movement’s amended Statutes also means that National Societies can benefit from the flexibility afforded by the Third Additional Protocol in the use of the red crystal or of a combination of emblems recognized by the Conventions.

The use of the red crystal will also provide additional protection to war victims and humanitarian workers in conflict situations where the red cross or the red crescent cannot be used.

The ICRC, the International Federation and the National Societies might use the red crystal temporarily and in exceptional circum stances. However no State or National Society is obliged to make any change to the emblem it uses. The ICRC and the International Federation will not change their respective names and emblems.

The International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent brings together representatives of the national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies, the International Federation and the ICRC, with representatives of the States that are party to the Geneva Convention. In total 178 National Societies attended and 148 States.

 For further information, or to set up interviews (ISDN lines available in Geneva), please contact:  

Ian Piper, ICRC Tel: +41 22 730 2063 or + 41 79 217 3216 (mobile)

Marie-Françoise Borel, International Federation Tel: +41 22 730 4346 or + 41 79 217 3345 

    

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