|Basic Rules of International Humanitarian Law (ICRC, 26 p.)|
The Movement's distinctive emblem is a red cross or red crescent on a white background.
In the event of armed conflict, use of the emblem is authorized for medical and religious personnel, both military and civilian, who are recognized as such by the Party to which they belong. The same applies for medical units and establishments and medical means of transport, equipment and materiel. In such cases it is a protective sign: the persons and objects displaying it must not be attacked, but, on the contrary, must be respected and protected.
Use of the emblem by National Societies
The National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are allowed to use the emblem; they are entitled to display it both in peacetime and in time of war when engaged in their humanitarian activities, though always in accordance with the national laws.
In such circumstances the distinctive emblem does not confer the protection of the Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocols: its value is purely indicatory, showing that the persons and objects thus marked belong to the National Society.
In wartime the indicatory sign must be comparatively small in size to avoid any confusion with the protective sign.
The International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and their duly authorized personnel are permitted to make use, at all times, of the distinctive emblem.
Nevertheless, so universal has the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement become now that the display of the emblem by National Societies in any way places a certain responsibility on the Societies to act always within the spirit of the Conventions and to uphold the humanitarian principles on which both the Geneva Conventions and the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement itself are based.