The Colombian Red Cross, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) reaffirm the importance of showing absolute and unconditional respect for the red cross emblem. Respecting the emblem is a way of protecting the staff who work for these humanitarian organizations, enabling them to help the most vulnerable victims and communities.
The red cross is a symbol of impartial, neutral and independent humanitarian work. Its misuse in situations of armed conflict, violence, mass mobilizations or natural disasters can put the lives of authorized personnel, and the individuals and communities who receive their help, at risk.
The emblem is protected under the 1949 Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols and - in Colombia - Laws 142 (passed in 1937) and 875 (passed in 2004). Under no circumstances may the emblem be used by unauthorized individuals or organizations.
In Colombia, those authorized to use the red cross emblem are:
- International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement staff.
- Civilian health personnel authorized by the Ministry of Health and Social Protection.
- Public force health personnel in their healthcare duties (decree 135 of 2005).
The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement uses the emblem to protect its staff and their humanitarian work. In Colombia it is used as follows:
A call to respect health services
The Colombian Red Cross, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) reiterate the need to respect health services.
Health services exist to help people in their time of need. Hindering or attacking these services not only violates humanitarian norms, but also affects those whose lives are most at risk.
Respecting health services involves protecting ambulances and other vehicles used for medical purposes, so that they can circulate freely and help people whose life, health and integrity is at risk.
Recent months have seen more attacks on Colombia's health services, putting the lives and integrity of not only the staff, but also the people who require their humanitarian services, at risk. The year 2020 saw the highest number of assaults, namely 325, in the last 24 years, according to the National Health-Care Committee.
As we said before, while there are attacks on healthcare, the world is upside down.