War from the Victims’ Perspective: A Photo Exhibit by Jean Mohr

The photographed photographer, Jerusalem, 1979 © Jean Mohr, Musée de l’Elys

The photographed photographer, Jerusalem, 1979 © Jean Mohr, Musée de l’Elys

August 22nd commemorated the 150th anniversary of the first Geneva Convention, marking the birth of international humanitarian law as we know it today. It has since evolved through a number of stages and increased in scope, but violations are still commonplace, leaving countless victims of armed conflict.  To commemorate the anniversary of the first Geneva Convention, the Swiss Embassy and the Woodrow Wilson Center have partnered to display a photo exhibit by Swiss Photographer Jean Mohr titled

War from the Victims’ Perspective.

Jean Mohr (1925), a former ICRC delegate, sought to understand and explain the drama of civilians caught in conflict. His many reportages are the result of decades of experience working for humanitarian aid organizations such as ICRC, UNRWA, UNHCR and WHO, thus influencing his transformation into a full-time photographer.  Jean Mohr is one of the best representatives of humanist photography, masterfully balancing sensitivity and rigor, emotion and reflection, art and documentary evidence.  In 1978, at Photokina (Frankfurt’s major Photography Fair), he was awarded the prize for the photographer who had most consistently served the cause of human rights. 

Portrait of a Greek refugee, Larnaca, Cyprus, 1976 ©Jean Mohr, Musée de l’Elysé

Portrait of a Greek refugee, Larnaca, Cyprus, 1976 ©Jean Mohr, Musée de l’Elysé

The exhibition addresses the issues of victims of conflicts, refugees, and communities suffering from armed conflict and still under potential threat. The photographs render a face to the casualties and retrace the steps of their displacement, from their settlement in the precariousness of the camps and reception centers to their attempts to adapt to an enduring situation.  This exhibition comes at a time when the amount of people affected by armed conflict is at an all-time high.  According to the UN, there are currently some 43 million uprooted victims of conflict and persecution worldwide. More than 15 million of them are refugees who have fled their countries, while another 27 million are people who remain displaced by conflict inside their own homelands -- so-called “internally displaced people”.

This exhibition will be on display at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, DC from November 20th 2014 through February 2015, and will travel around the world until 2016.  For more information visit: 

http://www.wilsoncenter.org/article/war-the-victims%E2%80%99-perspective...