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Humanitarian Visa d'Or for photojournalism on attacks against Yemen medics

31-08-2011 News Release

Paris / Geneva (ICRC) – On 1 September, at the 23rd Visa pour l'image international photojournalism festival in the southern French town of Perpignan, the very first Humanitarian Visa d'or – a prize organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) – will be officially presented to photographer Catalina Martin-Chico by Jean-Christophe Rufin of the Académie Française.

The award, created this year with support from the Sanofi Espoir Foundation, will go to Ms Martin-Chico for her report entitled "The Yemeni Revolution." Ms Martin-Chico was the unanimous choice of the 10-member prize committee.

Mr Rufin, the committee chairman, explained: "Over and beyond its aesthetic qualities and emotional force, the work of Catalina Martin-Choco depicts, as required by the prize regulations, human suffering and the professionalism and courage of emergency personnel."

For Yves Daccord, the director-general of the ICRC, "the photography of Catalina Martin-Choco drives home the point, once again, that violence against medical facilities and personnel, wherever it may occur, has to stop. It's a matter of life and death."

"The human cost is staggering," he said. "Civilians and fighters often die from their injuries simply because they are prevented from receiving timely medical assistance." This incidentally is one of the main conclusions of an ICRC report, entitled "Health Care in Danger: Making the Case," which was issued on 10 August.

"Addressing the issue effectively will require humanitarian dialogue, respect for the law and the adoption of appropriate measures by States and armed forces," said Mr Daccord. "The ICRC is committed to working with all concerned in order to secure effective and impartial health care. The work of Ms Martin-Chico and other photojournalists is essential to raising awareness of one of the most urgent yet overlooked humanitarian problems of our time."

Ms Martin-Chico, a graduate of the International Center of Photography in New York, has focused her work on Yemen since 2009.

Her work will be on display on the premises of the French Red Cross in Perpignan, 24 place des Orfèvres, from 27 August to 11 September.

The prize of 8,000 euros, made available by the Sanofi Espoir Foundation, which supports activities designed to provide continuity of care for injured or displaced people, is awarded for photojournalism that conveys how difficult it is to carry out medical activities unhindered and in safety amid armed conflict or other violence.

The prizewinner was chosen in Paris on 21 June. Members of the prize committee are from five media organizations (the New York Times, Paris Match, Le Figaro magazine, Géo, and La Croix), the Sanofi Espoir Foundation and the ICRC.

For further information, please contact:
Bijan Farnoudi, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 21 80 or +41 79 536 92 59