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Dilemmas, Challenges, and Ethics of Humanitarian Action: Reflections on Médecins Sans Frontières’ Perception Project

Montreal: McGill Queen’s University Press, Médecins Sans Frontières

What are the ethical issues involved in providing humanitarian aid? What is the real impact of humanitarian groups? MSF sought to answer these questions in the Perception Project, a study that spanned four years and more than ten countries. Close to 7,000 people were interviewed in order to understand the ways that patients, populations, authorities, and communities perceive MSF’s principles and medical practices.

As a medical humanitarian organization, MSF struggles with the ability to respond to crises, the safety of its teams, and the development of effective interactions with populations and authorities. Perception has a considerable impact on both the quality of operations and the safety of staff and therefore requires special consideration.

Dilemmas, Challenges, and Ethics of Humanitarian Action is a series of reflections on the Perception Project that presents the insights and analyses of authors from a diverse array of fields including communications, ethics, medicine, humanitarian studies, and political science. At a time when humanitarian aid is under increasing scrutiny, this book provides perspectives on how MSF can better serve those in need.


Presentation in Manchester

MSF and the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute (HCRI) of the University of Manchester organized on 22 April 2013 a book launch event on the perception of MSF and humanitarian action. Caroline Abu-Sada presented the books In the Eyes of Others and Dilemmas, Challenges, and Ethics of Humanitarian Action. The presentation was followed by a panel discussion with Jeroen Jansen (MSF, London), Dr Paul Kailiponi (HCRI, Manchester), Dr Sandra Paggoda (HCRI, Manchester) and Prof. Bertrand Taithe (HCRI, Manchester).


French version

There is a French version of this book: Jeux de miroir: Réflexions sur MSF et l’action humanitaire.


Spanish version

There is a Spanish version of this book: Juego de espejos: Reflexiones sobre la percepción de MSF y la acción humanitaria.


Book review

James Dominic Smith, Journal of International Humanitarian Action, December 2016.


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