History of the Emblem

Red Cross
Red Cross

An International Conference met in Geneva to try and find means of remedying the ineffectiveness of army medical services in the field. It adopted a red cross on a white ground as the distinctive sign for relief societies for wounded soldiers - the future National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

The first-ever Geneva Convention was adopted: the red cross on a white ground was officially recognized as the distinctive sign of the medical services of armed forces.


Red Crescent

Red Lion and Sun

During the Russo-Turkish war, fought in the Balkans, the Ottoman Empire decided to use a red crescent on a white ground in place of the red cross. Egypt also opted for the red crescent and Persia subsequently chose a red lion and sun on a white ground. These States made reservations to the Conventions, and their exceptional signs were then written into the 1929 Conventions.

Article 38 of the First Geneva Convention of 1949 confirmed the emblems of the red cross, the red crescent and the red lion and sun on a white ground as the protective signs for army medical services. It thus excluded the use of any exceptional sign other than the red crescent and the red lion and sun.

The Islamic Republic of Iran decided to give up the red lion and sun and use the red crescent in its place.


Red Crystal

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement announced the additional emblem, known as the Red Crystal, alongside the red cross and red crescent, recognized in the Geneva Convention. The Red Crystal emblem, apprear as a red frame in the shape of a square on edge, on a white background, provides a comprehensive and lasting solution to the emblem question, and is free from any religious, political or other connotation.

2007 (14 Jan)

The Third Additional Protocol to the 1949 Geneva Conventions enters into force.  The red crystal has the same status under international law as the red cross and red crescent emblems.

2009 (30 Jun)

There are 152 national Red Cross societies and 33 national Red Crescent societies in the world. One more national society adopting Red Crystal emblem.


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