The Red Cross has admitted it is looking at introducing a third, neutral logo in order to ensure the safety of its humanitarian workers and military medical personnel overseas.
The emblem, a red frame in the shape of a square on edge on a white background, would be known as the red crystal, and would enjoy equal status in all respects with the red cross and the red crescent.
The charity said that in times of increased religious struggle the existing emblems "unfortunately do not always enjoy the respect to which they are entitled as visible signs of the strict neutrality of humanitarian work".
Charities that have signed the Geneva Conventions have been discussing the need for a new emblem for some time. It will allow countries that have not adopted a red cross or crescent to be admitted into the international Red Cross and Red Crescent movement.
The Swiss government plans to hold a conference before the end of the year at which the Geneva Conventions' member states will be asked to approve the new symbol.
Although the British Red Cross will continue to use the red cross, in some circumstances it will be able to use the additional emblem for overseas work in areas where the cross may be taken as a Christian symbol.
Commenting on the emblem, Leigh Daynes, a spokesman for the British Red Cross, said: "It would complement the special symbols of neutrality and protection under which we work. They mean 'don't shoot'."