As physicians and hospitals providing medical service in war zones multiply, their facilities have increasingly become military targets – placing their medical staff in danger and preventing locals from seeking care...
The massive and continuing flows of Syrian and Palestinian refugees to Syria’s neighbours have shown the limitations of humanitarian practice and present new challenges for medical and humanitarian interventions.
Since its foundation, MSF has faced different forms of violence against its patients, staff, health facilities and medical vehicles, as well as against national health systems in general. Medical practice can thus be perverted for political and martial purposes. This violence deprives entire populations of vital assistance and is a means for the parties to the conflict to exert, both symbolically and practically, their power over people’s lives.
While Lebanon has absorbed tens of thousands of refugees fleeing the conflict in neighboring Syria in recent months, many people are living in overcrowded conditions, suffering psychological distress, are fearful for their safety, and are unable to afford medical care.
In this special feature of this issue of Humanitarian Exchange, which focuses on humanitarian action in the Middle East, Caroline Abu-Sada describes how Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has adapted its approach to providing emergency medical care to different country contexts in the Middle East.
The new situation created by the 2011 "Arab Spring" goes to the heart of relations between associations, NGOs and governments. Indeed, populations have been placing increased pressure on the majority of Arab countries, partly due to the profound transformation of the voluntary sector. A book edited by Caroline Abu-Sada and Benedict Challand, which was written for the most part before the beginning of the acceleration of the mobilizations against the regimes, includes six studies that can help better understand these recent events.
Most Arab regimes are now facing extreme pressure from their populations. Their authoritarianism, as well as their ability to produce development and social welfare, are being questioned, while unemployment, social insecurity and poverty are making their societies more fragile. How do development associations, which have proliferated in recent years, participate in the new situation created by the "Arab Spring" of 2011?