N'Djamena (ICRC) – Forty-four years after the Red Cross of Chad was founded, Chad's National Assembly has passed legislation aimed at protecting the red cross and red crescent emblems in the country.
The new law regulates the use of the emblems both as indicative and as protective devices. In peacetime, they shall be used to identify components of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. In wartime, they shall protect medical units of the armed forces, national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies assisting the sick and the wounded.
"The red cross emblem is a symbol of impartial humanitarian aid," said Bongor Zam Barminas, secretary-general of the Red Cross of Chad. "It may not be used for any other purpose. The passage of this law by the National Assembly will enhance the status of the Red Cross of Chad and of its thousands of volunteers across the country." More than 25,000 Red Cross volunteers are currently at work in Chad, bringing aid in particular to people who fled the violence in the Central African Republic.
The legislation passed by the National Assembly clearly specifies which entities are entitled to use the emblem in time of peace and in time of war. "This is important for regulating the use of the emblem and setting up a system of penalties to prevent misuse," said Gérard Besson, head of the ICRC delegation in Chad. Misuse of the emblem reduces its protective effect in times of crisis or war and can put members of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, who display it as they do their work, in serious danger.
In recent years the ICRC has been working to facilitate the passage of this law. In addition, in connection with its "Health Care in Danger" campaign, it has organized a series of international consultations – most recently at the beginning of this year in Brussels – on ways of reinforcing legal protection for first-aid and other health-care personnel, including the thousands of volunteers from national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies throughout the world.
For further information, please contact:
Daphné Lucas, ICRC N'Djamena, tel: +235 66 20 10 05