Whilst there is indeed a trend towards the strengthening of State sovereignty, this concept is more multifaceted and ambivalent than it might appear. The author invites us to take stock of its developments, its complexity and the implications for humanitarian work.
The Ebola epidemic continues to be instructive. This was indeed the conclusion of the "Focus" on this subject in our inaugural issue: the magnitude of this unprecedented crisis, its failures and successes, required that there were lessons to be learned. This is what Marc Poncin, the former coordinator for Doct
Medical humanitarian organizations don’t generally deal well with death. This may come as a surprise, since it’s a sombre reality of this line of work that frontline staff are often witness to death and dying. Contrary to the humanitarian’s general propensity for self-aggrandizement, it’s not always possible to save lives. So what then of the oft-cited dual imperative to alleviate suffering and preserve dignity?
The Charter of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the guiding document for all of the organization's members, states in the final paragraph that volunteers "understand the risks and dangers of the missions they carry out". Through a review of the different periods in the history of MSF, this article analyzes the changing interpretations that the organization's successive leaders have given to this reference to the acceptance of risk by individuals.
The suffering endured by refugees and other exiles in the northern port town of Calais, France, has been the subject of significant media attention in recent months. Renewed interest in the plight of Calais' encamped population began to peak in April 2015, at the same time that the French authorities forcibly closed the largest settlement, situated in woodland adjacent to an active titanium oxide factory. Residents of this settlement were relocated to a nearby segment of sandy grassland that was once both a waste disposal site and a local shooting range.
Read the letter by Caroline Abu Sa'Da and Christine Jamet, a response to the briefing by Welz “Crisis in the Central African Republic and the international response” published in African Affairs (Vol. 113, No. 453, pp. 601-610).
The impact of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti was devastating for a country whose history was already marked by poverty, natural disasters, environmental degradation and political instability. An outbreak of cholera several months later further hampered reconstruction efforts. At the same time, this presented an opportunity to rebuild and develop the country, including an already extremely fragile and inequitable health system.
As of the 31st of March 2015, 418 out of 815 infected health care workers had died from the Ebola virus in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, according to a recent WHO report. 217 recovered and the fate of the remaining 181 is unknown. These figures alone attest to the heavy price paid by medical staff responding to the crisis.