- International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum - https://www.redcrossmuseum.ch/en -

HELP Profession: Humanitarian Worker

22 September 2004 - 23 January 2005

Revolted by the images transmitted to us day after day from conflict zones, at one time or another we all ask ourselves this simple but crucial question: what can I do about it? Everyone has his own response: professional or associative, ad hoc or ongoing, local or global.

Humanitarian action, which was long considered to be a vocation, is today a profession that is learnt, practised and remunerated. It implies the acquisition of specific skills of a scientific, technical or, in any event, humane nature. The combination of all this know-how and behavioural expertise within a team makes it possible to accomplish the complex mission defined by the aid organizations.

This exhibition, reflecting the viewpoint of the professionals, addresses questions concerning the
motivations and values underlying humanitarian commitment. Assist the victims – yes – but how, in what capacity and subject to which rules of conduct?

The recruitment and training stages are followed by initiation in the field. The satisfaction at finally being able to play an active role is offset by a more or less acute awareness of the inherent limits of action. Why visit prisons if there is no significant improvement in the situation of the prisoners? Why tend wounded persons who are determined to return to the battlefield? Why take the risk of sometimes being targeted by the belligerents while seeking solely to assist the victims?

From Guantanamo to Baghdad, from Afghanistan
to Darfur, International Humanitarian Law is constantly being violated. How do those responsible for defending it react? How do their practices evolve? Several round tables will be organized in November 2004 to enrich the concepts proposed during the temporary exhibition.