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security of humanitarian personnel

Ruines d'un hôpital à Alep en Syrie
Article

How humanitarians work when faced with Al Qaeda and the Islamic state

How to intervene with the civilian populations in the middle of the war in Syria? Jean-Hervé Bradol, director of studies at Crash and former project coordinator for the northern part of Syria in 2013, testifies about the negotiations carried out in Syria in cities taken by groups affiliated to Al Qaeda or the Islamic State. This article was published on the Mediapart website on February 1, 2015.

Vue de l'intérieur de l'hôpital MSF à Kunduz, après son bombardement, octobre 2015
Article

War Breaks Out: Interpreting Violence on Healthcare in the Early Stage of the South Sudanese Civil War

This article seeks to document and analyse violence affecting the provision of healthcare by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and its intended beneficiaries in the early stage of the current civil war in South Sudan. Most NGO accounts and quantitative studies of violent attacks on healthcare tend to limit interpretation of their prime motives to the violation of international norms and deprivation of access to health services. Instead, we provide a detailed narrative, which contextualises violent incidents affecting healthcare, with regard for the dynamics of conflict in South Sudan as well as MSF’s operational decisions, and which combines and contrasts institutional and academic sources with direct testimonies from local MSF personnel and other residents. This approach offers greater insight not only into the circumstances and logics of violence but also into the concrete ways in which healthcare practices adapt in the face of attacks and how these may reveal and put to the test the reciprocal expectations binding international and local health practitioners in crisis situations.

The shared MSF / ICRC helicopter exchanging passengers in Gumuruk. In the rainy season helicopter is the only reliable way to move around Pibor County in South Sudan.
Article

Ending the Code of Silence on Abductions of Aid Workers

This article discusses the policy of absolute secrecy on abductions adopted by aid organisations. It argues that the information blackout on past and current cases is to a large extent a function of the growing role of private security companies in the aid sector, which promote a ‘pay, don’t say’ policy as a default option, whatever the situation. The article contends that secrecy is as much an impediment to resolving current cases as it is to preventing and managing future ones. It suggests abandoning the policy of strict confidentiality in all circumstances – a policy that is as dangerous as it is easy to apply – in favour of a more nuanced and challenging approach determining how much to publicise ongoing and past cases for each audience, always keeping in mind the interests of current and potential hostages.

Mamadou M’Baiki health centre in Bangui, CAR
Article

Review "Saving Lives and Staying Alive: Humanitarian Security in the Age of Risk Management"

Kevin MacMahon's review of "Saving Lives and Staying Alive: Humanitarian Security in the Age of Risk Management" (Michaël Neuman and Fabrice Weissman, London: C. Hurst & Co, 2016) is published in the Journal for the Study of Peace and Conflict (2016, pages 69-70).

A group of humanitarian workers in Honduras
Article

Dying for humanitarian ideas: Using images and statistics to manufacture humanitarian martyrdom

This article has been inspired by an analysis conducted by MSF-Crash of humanitarian security management and why and in what ways it is evolving. We endeavour not only to describe humanitarian imagery, but to analyse its consequences - the risks it generates for aid workers operating in perilous situations. 

The United Nations Security Council votes
Blog post

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.

A young girl walks in the streets of Bama
Article

War and humanitarian aid

Rony Brauman focuses on the humanitarian environment and practices in war, in order to try to understand and analyze its political and ethical stakes. Starting with the creation of the Red Cross at the end of the XIXth century, he then focused on the contemporary postcolonial period, switching between various scales and reporting on contradictory points of view and issues.