|Technical notes: Special Considerations for Programming in Unstable Situations (UNICEF, 2000, 490 p.)|
I.D. PHOTOGRAPHS CANNOT BE USED FOR OTHER PURPOSES WITHOUT A SPECIAL RELEASE
Most UNICEF photographs - for which appropriate copyright reproduction rights have been obtained - are documentary depictions of people in real situations. As such, UNICEF, assuming this depiction does not falsify the real identity and situation of the people depicted, or use the image in a context that implies a different reality, can freely reproduce them. This is both a legal and ethical issue. Photographs of people that are used in commercial or other situations that impose an interpretation different from reality require model releases, which confirm that the person depicted has consented to this use.
However, identification photographs taken of unaccompanied children in emergency situations are not documentary or photojournalistic depictions and therefore require model releases for advocacy or fund-raising uses by UNICEF. While journalistic coverage of a family tracing programme, including the taking of identification photographs, is a documentary coverage, the actual identification photograph is part of a programme and not a journalistic depiction of a child. As such, it requires a model release for use other than identification. This is a right-to-privacy issue in the same way as corporations and public institutions can only use identification photographs they have of their employees or clients for that purpose.
Following intense media interest in the 1994/5 joint ICRC/UNICEF family tracing programme for unaccompanied Rwandan refugee children, exhibitions using the identification photographs were only permitted after a joint agreement by ICRC and UNICEF (as the temporary guardians of the children in the absence of their parental guardians) to permit this limited advocacy use to raise awareness about the plight of these children. In addition to the privacy issue, it is important to bear in mind that family tracing identification photographs are part of confidential programmes. While the photograph is usually taken for wide dissemination aimed at reuniting the child with his/ her parents/guardians, security situations may require these photographs to be kept confidential.