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CRASH BLOG

OFF THE CUFF is a participative blog run by the Crash. Its purpose is to expose the diversity of experiences and opinions that exist among humanitarian aid practitioners. Online comments as well as direct contributions are more than welcome. 

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Views expressed on this blog are those of their authors and do not necessarily reflect the official positions of Médecins Sans Frontières

Ngala, Nigeria: Emergency aid to victims of violence and displacement
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Mortality emergency threshold: A case for revision

The crude mortality rate (CMR) is one of the most widely used indicators at MSF and the humanitarian sector to evaluate the severity of a health crisis within a given population. It is widely recognized that a CMR equal to or greater than one death per 10,000 persons a day signifies an emergency situation requiring an immediate response. However, the usage of the standard emergency threshold as “1/10,000/day” is very questionable: it goes against the official recommendations endorsed by humanitarian organizations and ignores the worldwide decline in mortality rates over the last 30 years.

Situation of migrants around the refugee center in La Chapelle, Paris.
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Hospitality

Thanks to the migrant crisis, or the reception crisis as it would be more appropriate to call it, the issue of hospitality is back in the forefront. On 17 May, the Maison des Métallos organised a conference with two social science researchers - Michel Agier and Benjamin Boudou - and an NGO manager Cécile Poletti to discuss existing tensions between private hospitality and public hospitality

Race and health. A fascinating article on the history of medicine

An article entitled "Médecines du corps noir" [Medicine and the black body], published on the La vie des idées website on 27 April, discusses three American history books on the origins of medicine in the United States in the context of slavery in the 18th and 19th centuries. Between experimentation and resistance, the history of relationships between race and health illustrates the decisive role played by African slaves.    

13 avril 1994. Réfugiés rwandais à la frontière entre le Burundi et le Rwanda
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Genocide from an historical, legal and political standpoint

The publication of the journalist Judi Rever’s book, In Praise of Blood, on the crimes committed by the Rwandan Patriotic Front’s armed rebellion has rekindled discussion over the existence of a “double genocide”, one committed against the Tutsis under the orders of Rwanda’s interim government which took power in April 1994 following the assassination of President Habyarimana, and the other against the Hutus by the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) which seized power in July 1994. There is little or no controversy about the reality of the genocide of the Tutsis in the world of Rwandan studies, but the claim that the Hutus were in turn victims of genocide sparks reactions as violent as they are confused. The cause of this confusion can be found in the different definitions of a term used in at least three fields: history, law and politics.

Vue de l'intérieur de l'hôpital MSF à Kunduz, après son bombardement, octobre 2015
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Humanitarian Wars ? - Interview with Rony Brauman

Rony Brauman has just published “Guerres humanitaires ? Mensonges et intox”. This book, a collection of interviews co-authored with Régis Meyran, explores a number of recent armed interventions that have all shared the goal of saving lives. Reviewing conflicts in Somalia, Libya, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq, Brauman discusses the reasons advanced for justifying these wars and the accompanying lies.

Woman carries a child in the Grande Synthe camp
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Temporary palliatives to an ongoing humanitarian need: MSF’s intervention in Dunkirk

In this paper, Angélique Muller and Michaël Neuman attempt to explore the lessons learnt through examining the decisions as well as the difficulties MSF encountered in its provision of assistance to migrants in Grande-Synthe. This article was originally published in Humanitarian Exchange Magazine #67 in September 2016.

The United Nations Security Council votes
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Humanitarian diplomacy, a fig leaf for extreme violence

Interview with Michaël Neuman and Fabrice Weissman, research directors at Crash. On Wednesday 28 September, MSF is invited to attend a UN Security Council briefing on resolution 2286, adopted in May 2016, which strongly condemns attacks against medical personnel and establishments in conflict situations.