Humanitarian operations in the shadow of the war

Even in war, there are laws. International humanitarian law is a set of rules that will provide special protection for medical assignments, medical personnel and medical facilities, as well as for the sick and injured. But despite the fact that people who are injured or ill have the right to receive care, we see that hospitals are looted, attacked and bombed, and medical staff risk becoming targets and prevented from carrying out their tasks.

This often happens because healthcare is not perceived as neutral by the warring parties. Médecins Sans Frontières is an organization founded on humanitarian ideas about the equal value of all human beings, and an important part of the organization's work is also to tell about the wrongdoings they see. But sometimes it is difficult to testify to the consequences of the war without losing its credibility as a neutral actor, and thus risking staff access and security.

In which conflict-affected areas is MSF's work hampered by non-compliance with the laws of war? What can and should be done to influence? How does Médecins Sans Frontières handle situations where the task of testifying is opposed to staff access and security?

Hanna Broberg has worked with Médecins Sans Frontières for 15 years, partly at the Stockholm office in communication and fundraising and partly on assignments in Sri Lanka, Congo-Kinshasa, Papua New Guinea and Yemen. She visits FUF for a conversation about MSF's work to help people affected by crises, wars and natural disasters, regardless of political opinion, religion or ethnicity.

The seminar is organized by FUF's seminar group, which consists of young committed members in the Stockholm area. 

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Published: May 30, 2018