Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Geneva Convention Anniversary: A Look Back

Geneva, 1949. Diplomatic conference for the revision of the Geneva Conventions. Photo Credit: ©ICRC/J. Cadoux/hist-03538-06

By Catherine Carlton, American Red Cross North Texas Region

Anniversaries are a time to celebrate milestones and look back and remember how the "relationship" started.

This month marks the anniversary of the Geneva Convention that continues to guide us when it comes to international humanitarian law.

When we at the Red Cross celebrate how our relationship with Geneva Convention started and its milestones, we are reminded of our history of helping people, specifically those in war and affected by war across the globe; and the importance of our Red Cross emblem.

Join us in recognizing this anniversary by reviewing the history of these important humanitarian laws that began in 1864 and continue to evolve:
  • First Geneva Convention: protects soldiers who are out of the battle. Later expanded to include wounded/sick soldiers as well as medical personal.

  • Second Geneva Convention: adapts the protections to reflect conditions at sea.

  • Third Geneva Convention: sets out specific rules for treatment of prisoners of war.

  • Fourth Geneva Convention: civilians in areas of armed conflict are protected

  • Two 1977 protocols give greater protection to victims of both international and internal armed conflicts.
Where our history is more visible is in our Red Cross symbol. Those drafting the Geneva Convention of 1864 foresaw the need for a universal symbol of protection easily recognizable on the battlefield.
  • The red cross on a white background (the reverse of the Swiss flag) was identified as a protective emblem in conflict areas.
  • Under the Geneva Conventions, the three distinctive emblems of the red cross, red crescent and red crystal are intended to identify and protect medical and relief workers, military and civilian medical facilities, mobile units and hospital ships.
  • They are also used to identify the programs and activities of the Red Cross and Red Crescent national societies.
The Red Cross has many resources for you to learn more and celebrate this important anniversary:

Red Cross: Exploring Humanitarian Law

Fact Sheet: Summary of the Geneva Conventions of 1949

What are the Geneva Conventions & International Humanitarian Law?

Story of an Idea - the animation

This animation of the comic book Story of an idea brings to life the story of the creation of the Red Cross, Red Crescent Movement and its history to date. The comic strip was created by the world renowned artist Jean Giraud, alias Moebius.

The animation presents in simple terms, the meaning of the Geneva Conventions, the universal humanitarian principles underlying the Movement's efforts and the general activities carried out by the different components of the Movement as they work together to help those in need.

No comments:

Post a Comment

The American Red Cross-North Texas Region does not moderate comments prior to posting, and we gladly welcome your comments — supportive, dissenting, questioning or otherwise. In general, we do not delete or censor comments unless they:

· contain excessive profanity
· contain harsh or offensive language
· use flaming or threatening language
· are abusive
· are off-topic or an inappropriate tangent
· are blatantly spam
· promote or advertise businesses
· personally attack the blogger or other commenters

While the American Red Cross-North Texas Region seeks to inspire, educate and excite its readers, this blog is a resource for the community and inappropriate comments will not be allowed. Participants who violate this Comment Policy may be blocked from future access and/or commenting on this blog.