Jean-Marc Biquet

Working in a prison in Myanmar: Médecins Sans Frontières’ experience working in Insein prison

Working in a prison for a humanitarian organisation is not easy, particularly because of the specific characteristics of such places. Médecins Sans Frontières’ experience working in Insein prison illustrates the difficulties of achieving objectives both in terms of results (long term provision of appropriate and full medical care to patients) and working conditions (minimal manipulation, indiscriminate access to patients, etc.).

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Humanitarian work in prisons: the experience of Médecins Sans Frontières

Humanitarian action by NGOs in detention centres is quite rare and poorly documented. Despite the fact that prisoners are among those who have the least access to quality health care services, MSF has never chosen to make detention centres one of its strategic priorities. The inherent difficulties linked to this operational context explain the limited number of projects the organisation has developed and managed in prisons.
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Aid and Quality, Haiti: The limits of the "Aid System"

The present article looks at the 2010 aid efforts in Haiti, a year in which 2 events resulted in massive humanitarian crisis. The first, the January 2010 earthquake, triggered overwhelming mobilization of aid: hundreds of actors poured into the country, deploying large scale emergency assistance. The second event, a cholera epidemic, started in October and received much media attention, but met with an overstretched aid community.
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Militär-Humanitär Eine Beziehung voller Spannungen (Military-humanitarians: A tensional relationship)

In accordance with its Charter, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) provides assistance to populations in distress, among them the sick and the wounded in conflict zones. Yet MSF’s presence in war zones is not a given, space is not set aside for humanitarian action; it must be negotiated. To gain acceptance, MSF must demonstrate on a daily basis that its only goal is to assist victims of conflict, and that it has no political, economic or other motivation.

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Them and Us

Aid providers have attempted to deliver help to those injured on the battlefield, regardless of their allegiances, since the establishment of the Red Cross. As a result, international humanitarian law has established the right of relief agencies to provide assistance as long as they respect the principles of humanitarianism by treating individuals humanely and without any form of discrimination when dispensing aid.

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Humanitarian Stakes No.1: Humanitarian Borders

Humanitarian Stakes No.1 is a compilation of articles prepared by the panellists who participated in a day of conferences debates on “Humanitarian Borders” in Geneva on 13 December 2007. The articles are organized by topic to reflect the original program of the day. MSF Switzerland also has also produced a DVD of the day containing panelists’ presentations and the debate portion of the sessions, in addition to the electronic versions of the articles published.

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Myanmar: la situation sanitaire est catastrophique

Myanmar is a particularly difficult context for MSF’s humanitarian action: access to those in need is possible "at the cost of a permanent contortion exercise between the respect of our principles as humanitarian actors (...) and the willingness to effectively implement our solidarity". Access to health services remains extremely difficult: In district hospitals and health centers, administrative, logistical and financial barriers, as well as discrimination, make access to health care "almost virtual" for the Burmese....

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