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Protocol III

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Protocol III


Protocol III is an amendment to the Geneva Conventions relating to the Adoption of an Additional Distinctive Emblem. The third protocol was adopted on 8 December 2005 and authorizes the use of a new emblem, shown right, known as the third protocol emblem or the Red Crystal, for use by national societies.

As of August 1, 2007, it had been ratified by 19 countries and signed but not yet ratified by an additional 68 countries. It entered into force on 14 January 2007, six months after the second ratification.

Governing rules

The rules governing the use of the third protocol emblem, set out in Protocol III, are as follows:

  • Within its own national territory, a national society can use either of the recognized symbols (the Red Cross and the Red Crescent) alone, or incorporate any of these symbols or a combination of them into the Red Crystal. Furthermore, a national society can choose to display a previously and effectively used symbol, after officially communicating this symbol to the state parties of the Geneva Conventions through Switzerland as the depositary state prior to the adoption of the proposed third additional protocol.
  • For indicative use on foreign territory, a national society which does not use one of the recognized symbols as its emblem has to incorporate its unique symbol into the Red Crystal, based on the previously mentioned condition about communicating its unique symbol to the state parties of the Geneva Conventions.
  • For protective use, only the symbols recognized by the Geneva Conventions can be used. Specifically, those national societies which do not use one of the recognized symbols as their emblem have to use the Red Crystal without incorporation of any additional symbol.


The primary purpose of adopting the third protocol was to enable Magen David Adom ("MDA"), Israel's emergency relief service, to become a fully recognized and participating member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. For many years, the MDA (Red Shield of David), Israel's version of the Red Cross, used a red Magen David (Star of David) as its only symbol. During that period, the MDA was excluded from full membership in the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent because of the refusal of a number of member states to allow its participation. Under Protocol III, the MDA will continue to employ the red Magen David for domestic use, and will employ the red crystal on international relief missions.

Before the Third Protocol was ratified, a deal was struck between the MDA and the Palestinian Red Crescent (neither of which was a fully-participating member of the IFRC at the time) to ensure that the two groups could mutually agree upon the new symbol and recognize it as official.

The adoption of the Red Crystal will allow member societies operating in areas of religious and ethnic conflict to use a religion-neutral symbol, as contrasted to the Cross and Crescent, which hold Christian and Islamic connotations, respectively. In addition to Israel, Eritrea has indicated that it may use the new emblem.

See also

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Protocol_III". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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