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Claire
Magone

Directrice de la communication de Médecins Sans Frontières, basée à Paris

Après des études de communication (CELSA) et de sciences politiques (La Sorbonne), Claire Magone a travaillé plusieurs années avec des associations humanitaires, notamment en Afrique au Libéria, en Sierra Leone, au Soudan ainsi qu'au Nigéria. En 2010, elle devient directrice d’études au Crash, puis directrice de la communication de MSF en 2014.

Michaël Neuman
Michaël
Neuman

Directeur d'études au Crash depuis 2010, Michaël Neuman est diplômé d'Histoire contemporaine et de Relations Internationales (Université Paris-I). Il s'est engagé auprès de Médecins sans Frontières en 1999 et a alterné missions sur le terrain (Balkans, Soudan, Caucase, Afrique de l'Ouest notamment) et postes au siège (à New York ainsi qu'à Paris en tant qu'adjoint responsable de programmes). Il a également participé à des projets d'analyses politiques sur les questions d'immigration. Il a été membre des conseils d'administration des sections française et étatsunienne de 2008 à 2010. Il a codirigé "Agir à tout prix? Négociations humanitaires, l'expérience de MSF" (La Découverte, 2011) et "Secourir sans périr. La sécurité humanitaire à l'ère de la gestion des risques" (CNRS Editions, 2016).

Fabrice Weissman
Fabrice
Weissman

Diplômé de l'Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris, Fabrice Weissman a rejoint Médecins sans Frontières en 1995. Logisticien puis chef de mission, il a travaillé plusieurs années en Afrique subsaharienne (Soudan, Erythrée, Ethiopie, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinée, etc), au Kosovo, au Sri Lanka et plus récemment en Syrie. Il est l'auteur de plusieurs articles et ouvrages collectifs sur l'action humanitaire dont "A l'ombre des guerres justes. L'ordre international cannibale et l'action humanitaire" (Paris, Flammarion, 2003), "Agir à tout prix? Négociations humanitaires, l'expérience de Médecins sans Frontières" (Paris, La Découverte, 2011) et "Secourir sans périr. La sécurité humanitaire à l'ère de la gestion des risques" (Paris, Editions du CNRS, 2016).

From international NGOs to UN agencies, from donors to observers of humanitarianism, opinion is unanimous: in a context of the alleged ‘clash of civilisations’, our ‘humanitarian space’ is shrinking. Put another way, the freedom of action and of speech of humanitarians is being eroded due to the radicalisation of conflicts and the reaffirmation of state sovereignty over aid actors and policies.

The purpose of this book is to challenge this assumption through an analysis of the events that have marked MSF’s history since 2003 (when MSF published its first general work on humanitarian action and its relationships with governments). It addresses the evolution of humanitarian goals, the resistance to these goals and the political arrangements that overcame this resistance (or that failed to do so). The contributors seek to analyse the political transactions and balances of power and interests that allow aid activities to move forward, but that are usually masked by the lofty rhetoric of ‘humanitarian principles.’ They focus on one key question: what is an acceptable compromise for MSF?

This book seeks to puncture a number of the myths that have grown up over the forty years since MSF was founded and describes in detail how the ideals of humanitarian principles and ‘humanitarian space’ operating in conflict zones are in reality illusory. How, in fact, it is the grubby negotiations with varying parties, each of whom have their own vested interests, that may allow organisations such as MSF to operate in a given crisis situation — or not.

 

This is a very valuable book. It shows one of the world’s great humanitarian organisations thinking aloud about the difficult choices it faces as it struggles to save and protect human life. The tone of Humanitarian Negotiations Revealed is exceptional for its frank and public self-scrutiny. In this respect, it breaks new ground and reveals a truly reflective humanitarian movement that is not afraid to learn in public. This honesty, and the insights into humanitarian history it offers, will make the book an important reference text in humanitarian studies, international relations and organisational theory. And, of course, it will fascinate those who continue to be intrigued by the particular aura and mystique of MSF.’ — Dr Hugo Slim, Oxford Institute of Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict, University of Oxford

 

These stories and reflections illustrate the tragic humanitarian paradox: to act morally, one can’t always be principled. Neutrality and impartiality disappear into the pantheon of defunct ideals, as MSF defends a robust opportunism in the best sense of the word: reality-based situational ethics.’ — Dirk Salomons, director of the Program for Humanitarian Affairs at the School of International Public Affairs, Columbia University

 

This collection of essays represents a maturing of MSF’s view of the world. Theirs is now a nuanced pragmatic approach which keeps its eye firmly on the goal of alleviating suffering but understands the need to compromise and invent, choosing the best possible path to reach the goal.’ — Dr Peter Walker, Director, Feinstein International Center, Tufts University

 

A highly readable and challenging appraisal of what it means to be a humanitarian actor in today’s rebalancing world. With a refreshing honesty, it explores the thin line that humanitarian agencies tread between saving lives and supporting oppressors. This brave and informative book reconfirms MSF as an organisation that thinks as well as acts.’ — Mark Duffield, Professor of Development Politics and Director, Global Insecurities Centre, University of Bristol

The book highlights the shifting dilemmas faced by aid workers. It brings out the perennial dangers of silence and stresses the continuing need to highlight the hidden victims of ‘just wars’. It also exemplifies MSF’s traditions of self-criticism and internal disagreement, traditions that are now more valuable than ever.’ — David Keen, Professor of Conflict Studies, London School of Economics and Political Science

This book is a collective effort. Marc Le Pape and Claudine Vidal, as well as all our colleagues and interns at the Centre de réflexion sur l’action et les savoirs humanitaires (CRASH/Fondation MSF), have all made invaluable contributions to this project. Caroline Serraf organised the translations, which were proofread and edited with painstaking care by Ros Smith-Thomas. This book would not have been possible without the enthusiastic collaboration of the Médecins Sans Frontières coordinators in the field and at headquarters.

All are warmly thanked.

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