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Humanitarian aid, genocide and mass killings. Médecins Sans Frontières, the Rwandan experience, 1982-97

Jean-Hervé Bradol
Jean-Hervé
Bradol

Medical doctor, specialized in tropical medicine, emergency medicine and epidemiology. In 1989 he went on mission with Médecins sans Frontières for the first time, and undertook long-term missions in Uganda, Somalia and Thailand. He returned to the Paris headquarters in 1994 as a programs director. Between 1996 and 1998, he served as the director of communications, and later as director of operations until May 2000 when he was elected president of the French section of Médecins sans Frontières. He was re-elected in May 2003 and in May 2006. From 2000 to 2008, he was a member of the International Council of MSF and a member of the Board of MSF USA. He is the co-editor of "Medical innovations in humanitarian situations" (MSF, 2009).

Portrait de Marc Le Pape
Marc
Le Pape

Marc Le Pape has carried out research in Algeria, Côte d'Ivoire and Central Africa. His recent studies have focused on the Great Lakes region in Africa. He has co-directed several publications: Côte d'Ivoire, l'année terrible 1999-2000 (2003), Crises extrêmes (2006) et dans le cadre de MSF : Une guerre contre les civils. Réflexions sur les pratiques humanitaires au Congo-Brazzaville, 1998-2000 (2001). Formerly with the CNRS, Marc Le Pape is currently a researcher at the l'Ehess (Centre d'études africaines).

Our latest book, by Jean-Hervé Bradol and Marc Le Pape, will be out next January. "Humanitarian aid, genocide and mass killings. Médecins Sans Frontières, the Rwandan experience, 1982-97" is published by Manchester University Press.

Throughout the 1990s, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) was forced to face the challenges posed by the genocide of Rwandan Tutsis and a succession of major outbreaks of political violence in Rwanda and its neighbouring countries. Humanitarian workers were confronted with the execution of close to one million people, tens of thousands of casualties pouring into health centres, the flight of millions of others who had sought refuge in camps and a series of deadly epidemics. Where and in what circumstances were the MSF teams deployed? What medical and non-medical assistance were they able to deliver?

Written by Jean-Hervé Bradol, director of studies at MSF-CRASH (Centre de Réflexion sur l'Action et les Savoirs Humanitaires) and Marc Le Pape, member of the CRASH Scientific Committee, this book is based on various hitherto unpublished private and public archives. It recounts the experiences of the MSF teams working in the field. It also describes the tensions (and cooperation) between international humanitarian agencies, the crucial negotiations conducted at local, national and international level and the media campaigns. The messages communicated to the public by MSF's teams bear witness to diverse practical, ethical and political considerations. How to react when humanitarian workers are first-hand witnesses to mass crimes? How to avoid becoming accomplices to criminal stratagems? How to deliver effective aid in situations of extreme violence?

This book is intended for humanitarian aid practitioners, students, journalists and researchers with an interest in genocide and humanitarian studies and the political sociology of international organisations.

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