Emblems of the Red Cross Movement

home  Our Work In Ireland iHL  Emblems of the Red Cross Movement

Emblems of protection

The Red Cross, Red Crescent and Red Crystal are international emblems of protection and neutrality in situations of conflict. They are recognised and legally protected in the Geneva Conventions and the Additional Protocols.

The emblems are not logos or trademarks but internationally-recognised signs identifying people, facilities and equipment as neutral providers of medical and humanitarian aid. Deliberate misuse for military advantage is a war crime.

Use of the emblems

National societies like the Irish Red Cross have the sole right to use the emblem under national law. At national level, use or display requires written permission from the Minister for Defence.

The Irish Red Cross is charged with following up on misuse. All national societies take this role seriously because abuse of the emblem could undermine its effect at times of conflict, thereby jeopardising the lives of those assisted by, or volunteering for the Red Cross.

Common misuses

We frequently issue requests for organisations and companies to desist from unauthorised use of the emblem which typically involves first aid kits, medical products, surgeries, pharmacies, repair services, children's toys, maps and street directories. This normally entails either reproduction or stylising of the emblem.

If you see a potential misuse, please email communications@redcross.ie.