Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the adoption of an additional distinctive emblem (Protocol III)

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Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the adoption of an additional distinctive emblem is commonly known as Protocol III. It was adopted on 8 December 2005 and entered into force on 14 January 2007.

Protocol III aims to address the issue of emblem protection in armed conflicts and provides for the adoption of an additional emblem known as the “red crystal” or “red crystal emblem.” This emblem serves as an alternative to the recognized emblems of the red cross and red crescent.

The need for an additional emblem arose due to some countries’ religious, cultural, or other reasons for not using the red cross or red crescent symbols. The red crystal emblem is a neutral emblem that can be used by countries and relief organizations that do not wish to use the existing emblems.

Protocol III provides protection for the red crystal emblem and ensures that it is respected and recognized as a distinctive sign indicating humanitarian assistance. It also contains provisions regarding its use, display, and identification, as well as obligations for states to respect and protect those using the red crystal emblem during armed conflicts.

The protocol also addresses issues related to the use of the red cross and red crescent emblems, reaffirming their protected status and the importance of respecting and upholding their use.

Protocol III represents an important development in international humanitarian law, expanding the range of recognized emblems and allowing for greater flexibility in the identification and protection of humanitarian personnel, facilities, and vehicles involved in armed conflicts.

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