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Knowing Red Cross Emblem

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Last Updated On: 14/02/2017  


What is the Red Cross Emblem?



It is an emblem which is used by those belonging to the Red Cross Movement and Army Medical Services who are involved in humanitarian work mainly in times of armed conflicts and natural disasters.  It is not the emblem of medical professions and its use is regulated by international and national laws.



Why was the Red Cross emblem, adopted in 1864 at the First Diplomatic Conference at Geneva?



During the Diplomatic Conference in 1864, Red Cross was adopted as the neutral sign to identify and protect the relief medical committees and the army medical services. It was adopted to facilitate access to the wounded soldiers and other victims of war so that much needed assistance could reach them. 



What is the significance of the Red Cross Emblem?



After adoption at the Geneva Conventions, the Red Cross emblem has become a universally known and legally sanctified neutral sign to identify the people with protected status in the situations of armed conflict, i.e. the armed forces medical units, the chaplains and the relief committees. They are in the battlefield exclusively for the amelioration of the condition of the wounded and sick soldiers and other victims of war, and are protected from all kinds of hostile military action under International Humanitarian Law. This symbol of Red Cross is expected to stimulate a reflex of restraint and respect from the combatants in the battle field. Use and repression of misuse of Red Cross emblem is regulated by international and national laws. When the components of the Red Cross Movement use this emblem, it signifies the seven fundamental principles which underlie their humanitarian and relief activities in situations of armed conflicts and natural disasters.



Who are the authorised users?



·    The military medical services, their personnel, units, installations and means   of transport.



·  International Committee of the Red Cross ( ICRC)



·  The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (The Federation)



·  National Societies + India C+ National Societies



·  First aid centres that offer totally free medical assistance and are authorised by the national society.



Is there misuse of the emblem in India and if yes, by whom?



Like many other countries of the world, the Red Cross emblem is also misused in India by many unauthorised users.  Experience shows that most often persons and institutions which abuse the emblem are:



·        Government medical institutions like hospitals, dispensaries, clinics and blood banks.



·        Members of medical, dental and nursing associations.



·        Private pharmaceuticals companies, their staff and products.



·        Private clinics, hospitals and nursing homes.



·        Traditional healers and herbalists.



·        Organisations operating ambulance services.

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