The Red Cross Emblem by dfhercbml


The Red Cross Emblem

More Info
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The red cross emblem – a red cross with arms of equal length on a white background – is one of
the most recognised symbols in the world. It is a unique protective symbol, use of which is governed
by international and national law. This activity is designed to help girls understand more about the
emblem and how it is used.

Facts about the emblem
It is one of the most recognised symbols in the world, use of which is governed by international and national law. It serves two separate purposes:

1. As a PROTECTIVE device – it is used to protect sick and wounded victims of armed conflict, and those officially authorised to care for them.

2. As an INDICATIVE device – it is used to indicate that the person or object on which it is displayed is connected with the International
   Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. It should then bear additional wording to explain that link.

   The British Red Cross uses the emblem with the words ‘British Red Cross’ as shown top left of this page. This is referred to as ‘the marque’.
   It is an example of an indicative device.
                                                                                                         Changing the World > The Power of Humanity > The Red Cross Emblem 2

Activity one: individual and group
Emblem spotting follow-up activity
Ask girls to keep an eye out for the three emblems – red cross, red crescent and red crystal.
Encourage them to make a note of where they see it, take a photo if they can, keep a newspaper cutting or print out
the image from a website.
Ask them to be vigilant for misuses. Each girl can bring in their most surprising example – it could be a possible
misuse or a particularly dramatic image.
As a group, look at the examples and discuss which are misuses of the emblem. If you find any, or if there are uses
you aren’t sure about, email the education team at or write to the address:
Power of Humanity, schools and community education, British Red Cross, 44 Moorfields, London EC2Y 9AL
We will inform our lawyer who prevents misuse of the emblem and try to let you know what happens to your case.

  True or false?                                                                                  Red Cross emblem questions
  See if you can work out whether the following statements are true or false:                     See if you can find out the answers to the following
  > The symbol of the red cross means don’t shoot in any language
                                                                                                  1. Why do we have a red crescent and a red crystal
  > It is illegal to put up a red cross emblem as a decoration
  > Doctors and nurses wear red crosses in war because they are there to help all
                                                                                                  2. When were they ‘adopted’?
    the wounded and the red cross indicates that they should be protected
                                                                                                  3. Which countries use these other emblems?
  > The red cross emblem is the Swiss flag inverted
                                                                                                  4. What is the meaning behind each of the emblems? Is it
  > The red crescent emblem has the same meaning as the red cross emblem                             the same?
  > There is a lawyer whose job is to prevent misuse of the red cross emblem
  > The correct first aid sign is a white cross on a green background
                                                                                                   Leaders’ notes
  > There is now also a red crystal emblem
                                                                                                   Please see page 3 for answers.
  * All of the statements are true.
                                                                                                  Changing the World > The Power of Humanity > The Red Cross Emblem 3

Activity two: individual and group
Drawing the emblem                                                            Protecting the emblem
The red cross is made up of nine equal sized squares; five red and four       After the emblems have been created, have a discussion about who can
white. On a piece of paper plot out a box 12 cm x 12 cm. Split the box        display the emblem – where would it be okay and where would it be an
into nine equal sized boxes (each 4 cm x 4 cm). Colour in the second,         abuse of the emblem? What action do students think should be taken to
fourth, fifth, sixth and eighth box red, and colour in the other four boxes   remove inappropriate emblems?
white. Your emblem should look like this:
                                                                              Another useful resource is the red cross emblem assembly kit – view it online

                                                                                 Leaders’ notes
                                                                                 To emphasise how important it is to protect the emblem, so that its
                                                                                 meaning doesn't become diluted or confused, it's very important that
                                                                                 all 'red crosses' produced are gathered in at the end of the activity.
                                                                                 A discussion should take place about what should happen to them –
                                                                                 as they are in fact 'illegal' emblems. People using 'illegal' emblems
                                                                                 may be committing a criminal offence!!

                                                                                 Our expert lawyer's advice is that, for safety, any such red crosses
                                                                                 should be destroyed after the activity is completed. If the actual
                                                                                 destruction is difficult send all your 'red crosses' into us at:
Well done! You have now made a properly dimensioned red cross BUT,
given what you have learned about what the red cross emblem means                Power of Humanity,
and where it can be used – is there a problem? Are you entitled to display       Schools and community education,
a red cross?                                                                     British Red Cross,
                                                                                 44 Moorfields,
                                                                                 London EC2 9AL
                                                                                      Changing the World > The Power of Humanity > The Red Cross Emblem > Guidance notes 4

Guidance notes
Red Cross emblem – answers
1. Why do we have a red crescent and red crystal emblem?                     3. Which countries use these other emblems?
Some countries saw the red cross as having a religious significance and so   The red crescent is used by 32 countries with substantial Muslim populations
preferred to use a red crescent. As this too began to be seen as having a    such as most of the Middle Eastern countries, Pakistan and Malaysia. The
religious significance, it was decided to adopt a third emblem, the red      red crystal is still new but it is anticipated that it will be used by Israel and
crystal, free from any religious, cultural or political connotations.        Eritrea. It is also available for the armed forces of any country operating in an
                                                                             area where it might be problematic to use their own emblem (red cross or
                                                                             red crescent) for whatever reason.
2. When were they adopted?
The Ottoman empire adopted the red crescent during the 1876-1878 war
                                                                             4. What is the meaning behind each of the emblems? Is it the same?
between Turkey and Russia. It was not officially recognised until the 1929
Geneva Convention. The red crystal was adopted in 2005 by a Protocol to      In armed conflicts, they are a visible sign of the protection granted to
the 1949 Geneva Conventions.                                                 medical personnel, facilities and means of transport, as well as relief workers.
                                                                             In peacetime, they can be used to show that a person or object has a link
                                                                             with the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. Each emblem has the
                                                                             same meaning.

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