By Daniel Sabiiti
Anyone using Red Cross as a symbol for their business, activity, or initiative will have to start thinking of new options ahead of 2017 because it is a ‘danger symbol’
Rwanda Red Cross society has proposed a new law that is about to be submitted to government to take punitive measures on persons and institutions using their symbol.
If passed by cabinet the law may see institutions such as the ministry of health forced to change from using a red cross on their ambulances, hospital signposts and logos.
Rwanda Red Cross raised the issue during the celebration of the 50th anniversary in 2014.
The Rwanda national blood transfusion center is one of the organisations that was using the Red Cross symbol. But they have since changed to a red heart.
The society, which is one of the key organisations backing government in intervention to address disasters, and poverty; says that the use of their symbol is a violation of the international attributions of the organisation of which Rwanda is a signatory to memorandums that establish a Red Cross society in any country.
“There is a law on symbols but it is not specific. Our proposed law will look into preventing use of our symbol, put penalties” said Appollinaire Karamaga the Secretary General of Rwanda Red Cross.
Mathew Rwahigi, the communications manager at Red Cross said that the law proposal is ready and only waiting to be submitted to government.
Taking this further, Karamaga says that the proposal will specifically target organizations and institutions like Ministry of Health that use the same symbol on ambulances and hospitals.
“We want them to change to another color maybe green. But we will formally request this through the international Red Cross Committee who will formally compel government to take measures” Karamaga said in a press briefing today.
The controversial Red Cross symbol was adopted by Rwanda in 1964 and the choice of this symbol is based on political and religious acceptability of a country.
For other countries, there are other choices of using the Red Crescent for Muslim countries, and the red crystal countries which don’t follow any religious mindset in their political systems.