Portrait of women in a refugee camp: Bangladesh, 1972
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has touched the milestone of 150 years the last year. Marking the occasion, the largest global network of humanitarian actions has organised a photo exhibition to visually describe its journey throughout the 150 years of its service. The exhibition, titled “150 Years of Humanitarian Action in 71 Photos” is a part of its global celebrations. It remains open from June 3 to 7 at Drik Gallery in the capital.
The title of the exhibition correlates to Bangladesh's war of independence in 1971, and majority of the photos are related to ICRC's humanitarian operations in the conflict-ridden country during the years of 1971 to 1975. In addition to those photographs, the exhibition features 10 photos on the body's history; five photos on its first operation in post-partition Bangladesh in 1950 when ICRC sheltered refugees in Dhaka and Chittagong, while the rest of the photographs reflect its recent works and operation in Bangladesh and across the world.
ICRC doctors and nurses go by boat on the Espi River: Colombia, 2010.
The photographs are powerful historic documents of a time when thousands of innocents were being killed and millions forced to leave the country to seek shelter elsewhere. The photos of war-torn Bangladesh tell the miserable tales of suffering that people went through and how the ICRC stood beside the humanity in distress.
The photos of Geneva Camp, repatriation of Pakistanis, protection of Biharis clearly show that the organisation works impartially. Recent photos of its operation in Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Philippines and other conflict-ridden countries gives spectators a journey through ICRC's humanitarian work world-wide.
Founded in 1863 by Swiss businessman Henry Dunant, the body works directly in 90 countries to protect the lives and dignity of millions of people affected by armed conflict, violence, internationally displaced people and citizens caught up in wars. Since its foundation, the ICRC has been playing humanitarian roles in most of the major conflicts that have taken place around the world.
In 1971, the ICRC carried out extensive humanitarian operation in Bangladesh to alleviate the suffering of the victims. It helped repatriating 120,000 Bangalis who were stranded in Pakistan. Following the war, over one lac Pakistanis safely returned to their country under the auspices of the ICRC. The exhibition boasts a rare collection and it is a must-visit for those who are interested in humanitarian work, as an instance of the change it can bring about.