Issue 19 – March 2022

Moving away from childhood as icon: an ethical and operational requirement


The place of the child in humanitarian action and communication: moving away from the cliché of childhood as icon

By Valérie Gorin - The war that is currently raging in Ukraine has already produced numerous images of children, replicas of thousands of others that emerge as soon as adults take up arms. They move us and haunt us. They should also raise questions. [Read more]


Children as agents in crises: re-assessing adult-child power dynamics in humanitarian action

By Sofie Lilli Stoffel and Kirstin Kreyscher The humanitarian sector is not spared from the adultcentrism governing our societies. Taking this notion and its practical implications as a starting point, the two authors deconstruct this doxa and explore what might be achieved if children’s voices and expertise were taken into account. [Read more]

Management of the suffering child: a medical and operational challenge

By Elba Rahmouni and Olivier Guillard  This article presents a troubling example of the effects of adultcentrism. While the treatment of pain in adults and children in rich countries has made remarkable progress, its application to children in fragile countries is severely lagging. It is a credit to the authors’ that they raise this issue in light of their NGO’s work. But it is a concern that should be of interest to many others in the sector. [Read more]

The resilient child: an alternative approach to suffering child icons

By Sophie Nakueira Can the image of the resilient child permanently counterbalance that of the suffering child? This is the hope the author shares with us, based on her fieldwork in Uganda. To support her argument, she refers to the experiences of NGOs and international organisations that have not only changed their image policy but also enabled children to emerge from their situation as victims. [Read more]

Critical perspectives on child protection in the Democratic Republic of Congo

By Camille Maubert In light of a violence prevention programme for children and young people, the author challenges the traditional notions of victimhood and vulnerability. Agentivity and capacity for initiative are valued in order to remove children from categories that can, ironically, turn them into “bad victims”. [Read more]

Advancing the participatory rights of Haitian children and youth in the context of migration

By Dustin Ciufo Young Haitians who wish to leave their environment to go to Port-au-Prince or further afield should be supported in their endeavour and helped in their choice. Reversing the “protective” and “incapacitating” perspective, the author argues for humanitarian actors taking into consideration the voices and aspirations of young people. [Read more]


Ethics and research in humanitarian settings

By Magali Bouchon and Christian Laval - Looking back on the seventh Scientific Day organised by Doctors of the World – France, the two authors discuss the ethical issues involved in research carried out in humanitarian contexts. From Niger to Nigeria to France, they point out the need to take better account of the views of the populations involved, explain the procedures and report the results. [Read more]


Acceptance under stress: old recipes for new problems?

By Pascal Daudin - In some ultra-violent and politically complex contexts in which humanitarians operate, the approach of gaining the acceptance of both the population and the various forces involved has its limits. For the author, it is necessary to rethink the way this work is done and, if necessary, to know how to pass the baton to other actors. [Read more]


Towards a renewed humanitarian approach to peace negotiations

By Irène Lizzola - The involvement of humanitarians in political processes is a subject almost as old as the existence of non-governmental organisations itself. The author proposes to draw a renewed path, between ethics of responsibility and ethics of conviction. [Read more]


Lebanon: healthcare takes to the road

Par Didier Bizet Didier Bizet was for many years an art director working in advertising agencies in France and overseas. In 2015, he decided to focus on photography full time. He is naturally drawn to the countries of the former Soviet Bloc “where the melancholy of time meekly submits to the camera”. [Read more]


“Infuriating doves of peace”: an interview with Plantu and Reza - The renowned photographer Reza and Le Monde’s iconic cartoonist Plantu have just published a book in which they revisit eighty or so of their respective photos and cartoons. The publication, which covers a vast range of historical events and global issues – from the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979 to the genocide of the Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994 by way of the environment, climate change and the situation of women and children around the world –, is a work of both remembrance and creativity. [Read more]


The humanity of humanitarianism - Humanitarian action may well conjure up a romantic world of adventure, but plotting it into fiction is not an easy task, for it’s often not as exotic as it seems, and good writing is not created from noble intentions. In her debut novel, Giselda Gargano has avoided these pitfalls. [Read more]





Anna Brun • Mandy Duret • Rozenn Guennou • Fay Guerry • Lucile Guieu • Alan Johnson • Juliet Powys • Benjamin Richardier • Derek Scoins

Correction fo the French version:

Cécile Leonett

Correction of the English version:

A.D.T. International

Acknowledgements for their voluntary contribution to this issue:

Sophie Gallet (Gallimard) • Damian Gonzalez Dominguez (CICR/ICRC) • Karima Kenane (Médecins du Monde/Doctors of the World) • Plantu • Reza

Conception :

In medias res


Imprimerie Brailly – Saint-Genis-Laval

ISSN : 2492-7120