Red Cross Emblem


The emblem of a Red Cross on a white ground was created with a specific purpose: to ensure the protection of those wounded in was and those who care for them. Any misuse of the sign instituted by the Geneva Convention of 1864 – for example, by transporting armed troops in an ambulance, or by flying a red cross flag over a munitions dump – is not only a breach of international law but also threatens they very notion of protection granted by the emblem.To prevent such breaches, States party to the Geneva Conventions must issue strict regulations on the use of the emblem. It may only be displayed on vehicles, aircraft, ships, buildings and installations assigned to transport and shelter the wounded and worn by the personnel who care for them. It is forbidden to use the emblem for commercial or publicity purposes. National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are also allowed to use the emblem to identify their premises, vehicles and equipment, as well as their staff, who often wear a uniform or badge. In this case the emblem must be small, so as not to be confused with the wartime protective sign.

The 1864 Convention mentioned only the Red Cross. A second emblem made its appearance a few years later, and it still in use – the red crescent. The cross had been adopted as a tribute to Switzerland, and had not been intended to have any religious significance; in 1876, however, during the Russo-Turkish war, the Ottoman Society for Relief to the Wounded replaced it by a red crescent.

This emblem has since been adopted by a number of countries in the Islamic world. It is recognized as having equal status with the Red Cross and as such is mentioned in the 1949 Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols.

Use of Red Cross Emblem

The object of Red Cross is allied with doctors and this has led to the belief in the monds of some medical practitioners that every medical practitioner is entitled to use Red Cross emblem. This belief is fallacious and as a matter of fact its use by medical practitioners is prohibited by law. It is the right only of members of medical service of any army.

As per the Geneva Conventions Act 1960 (as prevailing in India), Section 12 of the Act prohibits use of Red Cross and other allied emblem for any purpose whatsoever without approval of the Government of India and Section 13 imposes a penalty on anyone who uses such emblems without the permission of Central Government.

The emblem of a Red Cross is as with vertical and horizontal arm of same length on and completely by a white ground or the designation “Red Cross or “Geneva Gross.” The other allied emblems / designations are “Red Crescent”; “Red Lion and Sun”, and emblem of “Swiss Confederation.”

As per Las use of any design or wording resembling or likely to be mistaken for any of above emblems is subject to penalty. The punishment may extend to fine upto Rs. 500/- and be liable to forfeit any goods upon or in connection with which the emblem, designation or wording was used by that person. The Government of India has issued Press notices in 1938 pointing out that such user was illegal.