“The Burundi Red Cross urges the public authorities to introduce a legislation on the protection of the Red Cross emblem.” This is the great wish expressed by the Red Cross Presidents of the Branches of Kayanza, Gitega, and Bujumbura Mairie during the exchange workshops with the public authorities of these provinces on the protection of the emblem. It was from 2 to 6 September 2019. They explained that the Red Cross emblem is not the property of the ICRC, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies or National Societies. . “These are the States that give permission and power to National Societies to use the emblem in accordance with the 1949 Geneva Conventions”, said those presidents.
During these workshops organized in collaboration with the ICRC, participants are first reminded that the emblem remains recognized as symbols of neutral and independent assistance at all times. And secondly, that it serves as a guarantee of protection in a situation of conflict or emergency. As mentioned during exchanges, in wartime for example, only the medical services of armies and chaplains, the ICRC, the International Federation and National Societies are authorized to use the Red Cross emblem. While in peacetime, it is, among others, the Movement components, the health services and the religious personnel of the armed forces as well as the medical structures and the means of transport of a National Society that have this permission. The mandate, mission and scope of the interventions of the Burundi Red Cross are also on the agenda of the workshops.
The public authorities from the provinces of Kayanza and Gitega as well as in Bujumbura Mairie welcome these workshops, which shade light to the shadows around the use of the Red Cross emblem. They also welcome the contribution of the Burundi Red Cross in assisting the most vulnerable. “We are grateful that the actions of the volunteers of the Burundi Red Cross are unbeatable, in addition to their participation in the work of community interests,” said the senior adviser of Kayanza province. Same feeling in Bujumbura Mairie where public authorities recognize that the Red Cross plays a leading role in the emergency responses.
Such meetings will continue in other provinces so that there is a common understanding on the protection of this symbol of neutral assistance.