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American Red Cross Welcomes Swiss Government’s Decision to Convene a Diplomatic Conference


WASHINGTON, Monday, November 07, 2005 — The American Red Cross is pleased that the Swiss government has announced its intention to convene a Diplomatic Conference on December 5 and 6, 2005 in Geneva, Switzerland to consider adoption of the Third Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions. The protocol would create an additional protective emblem called the Red Crystal. This additional emblem would be equal in status to the existing Red Cross and Red Crescent and provide the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement new opportunities to address a number of issues. Specifically, the Protocol will:

* Provide an additional protective emblem for use in conflicts where the existing Red Cross or Red Crescent may be perceived as having cultural, religious, or political connotations
* Pave the way for the National Societies of Israel, (Magen David Adom), and the Red Cross Society of Eritrea to become full voting members of the Movement; and
* Provide National Societies in the future with an alternative emblem to identify themselves as part of the Movement within or outside their country.

“The American Red Cross is hopeful that governments will adopt the Third Additional Protocol,” said American Red Cross President and CEO Marty Evans. “We would like to thank the Swiss government for their efforts in making this meeting a reality and we would also like to thank the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross for their work on this important issue.”

Currently, Magen David Adom (MDA), the Israeli equivalent of the American Red Cross, is denied full membership in the Movement because it uses the Red Shield or Star of David as its emblem which is not explicitly referenced in the Geneva Conventions. The Geneva Conventions regulate the use of such protective emblems and can only be changed by governments that are parties to the Geneva Conventions. All 192 of these governments have the right to be consulted about the Third Protocol and each country is allowed one vote. Following adoption of the Protocol, rules for recognizing new societies will be amended to allow for MDA to be recognized and admitted as a member.

In order for MDA to become a full member of the Movement, governments must first adopt the Third Protocol. For more information on this issue, log onto


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