Swiss efforts lead to additional emblem of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement
144 State Parties attended the Diplomatic Conference 5-7 December on the recognition of an additional emblem through a Third Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions. A large majority of the State Parties have approved the adoption of the Third Additional Protocol recognising the additional emblem of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. Switzerland welcomes this decision. A long lasting controversy has come to its end. The new emblem is a red square shaped figure standing on one corner against a white background (red crystal). It is devoid of any national, religious and cultural connotation.
During nine months of negotiations, meetings and consultations Switzerland has done everything in order to facilitate a consensus oriented solutions of the emblem question. It played its role as Depositary of the Geneva Conventions to the very end. Switzerland brokered the agreement between Magen David Adom (MDA) and the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) signed November 28 2005 in Geneva. And it presided the Diplomatic Conference 5-7 December that ended with the adoption of the Third Additional Protocol.
This Diplomatic Conference had a strictly humanitarian goal. The purpose of its outcome was to increase the protection of victims of conflicts and war. At the same time, the adoption of the Third Additional Protocol had to bring the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement nearer to fulfilment of its fundamental principle of universality.
Therefore, Switzerland could not allow the International Humanitarian Law be taken hostage of a bilateral conflict. After having done everything to reach a consensus, Switzerland did not have the choice but to submit the adoption of the Protocol to a vote.
The adoption of the Third Additional Protocol does not automatically mean the admission of MDA and PRCS to the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. It is up to the next International Conference of the Movement to decide on the admission of these two national relief societies as well as on the change of Statutes of the Movement.