Seminar on IHL and Photo Exhibition Opening

Local news, 24.05.2015

In association with the UAE National Commission for International Humanitarian Law and ICRC, the Embassy of Switzerland in the UAE presented "War from the Victims’ Perspective", photographs by Jean Mohr.

ICRC Jean Mohr photo exhibiton
Adrian Bless, His Excellency Dr. Abdarahim Al Awadi and selected members from the UAE government guided through the Photograph Exhibition after its inauguration FDFA

The exhibition was shown in the UAE for the first time from May 24 to 28, 2015, at the Armed Forces Officers Club & Hotel in Abu Dhabi. The opening of the photo exhibition was part of a twofold event organised with the support of the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs that includes lectures in Arabic by experts on International Humanitarian Law (IHL) from the UAE National Commission on IHL and from the ICRC. 

The photographic work, consisting of 60 black-and-white historic photographs taken from fringes of various war zones over the last few decades, is very well known for its graphic quality, sensitivity and respect for the dignity of the victims. The award-winning Swiss photographer, Jean Mohr (born 1925) was a former delegate of the ICRC and UNRWA in Palestine before becoming a full-time photographer. Jean Mohr has been commissioned by the UNHCR, the ICRC and other organizations to document the lives of refugees all over the world. 

The exhibition was first inaugurated at the United Nations Office at Geneva in June 2013 to mark the 150 anniversary of the ICRC (2013) and the First Geneva Convention (2014). Produced by the Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, and the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Switzerland is making it travel around the world until the end of 2015 to promote, in partnership with local institutions, IHL and the protection and assistance of victims of armed conflicts.

 

Seminar on IHL and Opening of the Exhibition War from the Victims’ Perspective, Photographs by Jean Mohr 

Opening Speech by Adrian Bless, Chargé d’affaires a.i. of Switzerland to the United Arab Emirates 

On the Occasion of a joint Seminar on IHL and the Opening of the Exhibition War from the Victims’ Perspective, Photographs by Jean Mohr 

At the Armed Forces Officers Club & Hotel, Abu Dhabi 

Speaker: Mr Adrian Bless
Sunday, 24 May 2015, 10am
Excellency Dr. Abdarahim Al Awadi,
Ambassadors,

Ladies and gentlemen, 

It is a great pleasure to count with such distinguished presence for this joint seminar on International Humanitarian Law and for the opening of the exhibition “War from the Victims’ Perspective”, Photographs by Jean Mohr. 

First, let me congratulate our Emirati host and partners for their remarkable commitment and support of International Humanitarian Law: 

  • the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and,

  • the UAE National Commission on International Humanitarian Law, for which we count today with the presence of its Chairman, His Excellency Dr Abdarahim Al Awadi, who also is the Assistant Minister for Legal Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.   

In association with our Emirati counterparts, this joint event offers an opportunity to reiterate our mutual support to one acknowledged international partner in this matter, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent, the ICRC, and also, to the promotion of international humanitarian law and the protection of victims of armed conflicts. 

In the history of humanitarian action worldwide, 2013 and 2014 marked an important jubilee. 150 years ago, the ICRC was founded and the First Geneva Convention was signed. This cornerstone has been supplemented by many important developments in international humanitarian law. Switzerland has played a pioneering role since its beginning to secure acceptance for international humanitarian law on the world stage and it has repeatedly demonstrated its solidarity and commitment towards respect of that principle. 

On the occasion of the double 150 jubilee, Switzerland and the ICRC have launched talks with all states, which include the United Arab Emirates, on the best way to improve compliance with international humanitarian law. The main problem in contemporary armed conflicts is not the lack of norms, but rather, the widespread flouting of those that already exist. Finding ways and means to ensure greater respect for international humanitarian law is thus one of the most pressing humanitarian challenges. In accordance with their mandate, Switzerland and the ICRC will submit specific recommendations on the establishment of such a forum at the 32nd International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, which will be held in Geneva in late 2015. At this occasion the states will decide what action to take. 

In the frame of the 150 jubilee, Switzerland has also showed its mark of respect to the work of the ICRC by financing the recruitment of 150 new delegates in more than 80 countries around the world and, by this way, better reaching the victims of armed conflicts. 

Today, in an era of surrounding turmoil and conflicts, I am proud that the UAE National Commission on International Humanitarian Law and the Swiss Embassy are joining forces to show their respective government’s commitment towards the same values and beliefs including mutual support to the ICRC for its outstanding work in the field, which has been ongoing for over 150 years. 

War from the victims’ perspective, presents 60 black-and-white historic photographs by Jean Mohr. The photos were taken over the past 50 years from fringes of various war zones. The exhibition speaks by itself of past and present victims of armed conflicts. The photographic work is very well known for its graphic quality, sensitivity and respect for the dignity of the victims.  

The award-winning Swiss photographer, Jean Mohr, is now 90 years old. He was a former delegate of the ICRC and UNRWA in Palestine before becoming a full-time photographer. Jean Mohr has been commissioned by the UNHCR, the ICRC and other organizations to document the lives of refugees all over the world.     

Who can better talk about those photos than the photographer himself? Please launch the video. [video] 

On the words of Jean Mohr, may I invite each of you to join His Excellency Dr. Abdarahim Al Awadi and myself for the ribbon cutting and opening of the photo exhibition?  Please follow us to go upstairs.

"Check against delivery"